Broccoli or cauliflower? If you ask me to chose one, EVERY time, OK well, almost every time I will chose cauliflower. Why? Well, one of the reasons is that you can make an epic vegan gravy out of cauliflower and it’s amazing and I could go on and on about cauliflower gravy, but I won’t. I suppose you could also make a “gravy” out of broccoli, but man, it wouldn’t be the same – and it would most likely be kinda funky. But, I’m rabbit-holing over here talking about gravy and whatnot when I really want to talk about the fermented cauliflower I made recently.
Loving cauliflower like I do, the white tree to broccoli’s green tree, I was excited to try fermenting one of my favorite vegetables. I used the recipe from Kirsten Shockey’s book Fermented Vegetables.
Quick side note here: I love her book because it takes fermenting and presents it as something totally not sketchy or icky seeming. The way she presents her recipes makes me feel guilty I wasn’t doing this years ago – a big DUH, this stuff is awesome! I mean, I LOVE Katz’s fermenting bibles Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation (both wildly legit books), but they don’t have the approachable images that Shockey’s book does, and I’m a big believer in beautiful images in cookbooks. Beautiful cookbooks prompt me to cook like NO other, and Shockey’s book on fermentation opened a door to food that I never thought I’d step through. And, now that I’m through, well, mostly my husband just ribs me for not stepping through earlier! My point being, that Shockey’s Fermented Vegetables is a great book for beginner fermenters because it has pictures – and when you’re not quite sure how something is supposed to look, pictures are SUPER helpful! But, once you’ve made your first kraut or kimchi pick up Katz’s books. They’re necessary.
OK, so, the fermented cauliflower process was different than any other ferment I’ve done to date. There was no added brine like with sour dill pickles, but, there also wasn’t an abundant natural brine created like with sauerkraut. After being salted (I used Redmond’s Real Salt fine grain), the cauliflower expressed enough water to barely cover itself (how immodest!) – so, as per instructions from the book, I covered the salted and packed down cauliflower with a sealed gallon freezer bag with water (I think I’ll use brine next time in the Ziploc). It acted as the weight and follower (<—look how technical I’m getting over here!). I covered it with a towel, and left it on the kitchen counter for about a week (7 days). After 7 days the taste was fermented but not too sour. Just right for us.
This cauliflower recipe is a good one to experiment on – and now that I’ve tasted the end result, which I dig, I’m really ready to try all kinds of flavor combinations. The recipe called for jalapeños – and after sampling the finished product, which basically tastes like cauliflower sauerkraut, I’m thinking smoked jalapeños would be money! Or adding a bit of the gochujaru (Korean red pepper flakes) from the kimchi recipe for a bit of zing!
Pro-Skills: if you’re not scared of using a mandoline (I am), the recipe suggests using one for maximum thinness when slicing. I’ve just cut my fingers one too many times with a mandoline, so I stick with my chef’s knife and my sub-par slicing skills. ::thumbs up::
In conclusion: we’re enjoying this fermented cauliflower and I would definitely recommend it.
Also, I’d like to clarify that this is not a sponsored post promoting any cookbooks or such things – I just enjoy finding cookbooks/books that excite and inspire and then passing the word on! Preaching the fermentation gospel. Ha!
In other news, it’s been VERY smokey here from the various forest fires blazing in the Pacific Northwest… So here’s an image of the sunset the other night – and excuse me while I go take some allergy meds for the smoke inhalation that is causing my body havoc:
For the fermented cauliflower recipe and other good stuff, this is your book: