Everyone understands the risk of handing a Chicagoan ketchup, so what’s the right condiment to pass? That’s easy. Giardiniera. (Say it with me, “jar-din-air-ah.”) It’s the quintessential Chicago condiment, one that’s as brazen and boisterous as the city itself.
This fiery mix contains some combination of pickled chiles, celery, cauliflower, carrots and olives submerged in oil. Like an edible exclamation point, giardiniera adds instant heat, crunch and acid to many of our city’s iconic foods, including Italian beefs, Italian subs and deep-dish pizza. It’s even there when you might not expect it. Ever ask for hot peppers on a sandwich at Potbelly? That’s giardiniera. -Nick Kindelsperger, The Chicago Tribune