Fermenting has been an amazing journey this year. I’ve learned more in one year about food investigating and playing with fermented foods than in any other year – or so it seems.
This is a salad – and its not made with fermented foods, though they could be an ingredient. Its premise is, however entirely rooted in fermenting processes.
Winter salads are going to be a thing we’ll need to return to after a generation of getting accustomed to getting any kind of food at any time of year at reasonable prices – such has been both the promise, and the pitfall of the planet destroying big agriculture business.
The foundation of this salad are winter vegetables – carrots, cabbage, and onion. Simply put, you weigh them, and then massage in 2% of their weight in salt – just like what one does when one prepares a vegetable ferment.
If this turns on that culinary light bulb inside you, then stop reading and go make your own.
But for the rest, here’s what happens. when the salt is actually massaged into the carrots, onions and cabbage, it breaks down the cell walls, drawing out the juice within the vegetables, marinates the vegetables and imparts an ideal gentle saltiness. The result is completely different than if you simply sprinkled the salt over it.
That done, what you do with it next depends on you and what kind of flavour profile you want it to have. Definitely pepper will suit this. Beyond that, garlic, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil provides a Mediterranean flavor. Cilantro and cumin with a bit more heat suggests more Mexican. Working with honey/maple syrup, tamari, sesame and ginger yields a more oriental palate. You can add other vegetables that are not massaged and happen to be available – peppers, spinach,. celery, tomato, avocado…. and so on.
Likewise the dressing can be very flexible – from a simple vinaigrette to a complex spiced orange or roasted sesame & garlic. For a basic dressing that suits our Canadian winter I’m as often to turn to a viniagrette with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, supplemented with salt, pepper, mustard, and cranberry juice or even cranberry relish.
Here is one specific recipe to try:
1 large shaved carrot (i.e. once you have peeled the skin keep peeling off big peels until nothing is left of the carrot)
3-4 very thin slices of cabbage – approximately 100g
half a small red onion
sprinkle approximately 1/4 tsp of salt, and massage it into the vegetables for about 30 seconds to a minute. Taste – the cabbages or carrots should taste nicely salted. If they don’t, add a little more salt and repeat. Its important not to over-salt.
Or you can precisely weigh the vegetables and add 2% of their weight in salt.
Add other vegetables. thinly sliced peppers, spinach for example.
Also toasted walnuts or almonds, apple slices spinach leaves can be added – to taste – just don’t include them with the massaging.
For a dressing, a cranberry vinaigrette – though you can use whatever you like.
- 90g olive oil
- 30g apple cider vinegar
- 20g cranberry chutney and or concentrated cranberry juice
- 1 tbs dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
Mix thoroughly and enjoy