Fermentation (a way of ‘pickling’) is a great way to preserve vegetables, create interesting flavours and improve textures. This recipe uses the fermented rind of Buttercup Squash- the fermentation softens the skin and creates a delicious sweet and sour flavour. Carrots, daikon, cauliflower (especially the stalks), beetroot or other squash can be cut into strips and fermented for salads.
For reference, the Buttercup squash rinds were fermented for 10 days in a 2% brine.
For the Salad (as with all salads, the quantities and ingredients are flexible, use what you have and what you enjoy)
· Around 150g of cabbage (savoy, white, pointed etc.)
· ½ tsp salt
· 1tsp sugar
· 75g fermented pickles such as squash rind, carrots, radish etc.
· 1 medium carrot, grated or cut into matchsticks
· 2 florets of cauliflower, thinly sliced
· Vinegar, or lime juice (bottled is fine)
· Dried chilli flakes or fresh chilli
· A handful of fresh mint or coriander, chopped finely
· Soy sauce or fish sauce
· Roasted, salted peanuts or cashews. Any nuts or seeds would work though.
1. If the cabbage has tough stalks, chop this finely first. Shred the leaves.
2. Wash the cabbage then add to a bowl with salt and sugar and massage the leaves.
3. Massage the leaves for 3-4 minutes until they are soft and wilting. Water will have pooled at the bottom.
4. Drain the cabbage and discard any water. The cabbage can also be rinsed and drained if it is too salty or bitter.
5. Add the carrot, cauliflower, fermented pickles and herbs.
6. Add 1-2 tbsp of vinegar or lime juice. Mix well and leave for 5 minutes (while the raw vegetables soften slightly).
7. Add the peanuts and ½ tsp dried or fresh chilli (or more if you like it spicy!).
8. Add a dash of soy or fish sauce.
9. Mix and taste again. The dressing should be a little spicy, fresh from the herbs and savoury- add more vinegar, soy sauce or chilli as needed.