Fresh fennel bulbs are available from early summer to fall, just in time for the BBQ season, and in summer the red bell peppers are also in season. By the way, you can recognize fresh fennel by the abundant amount of the aromatic, light green fennel fronds. In winter, this is missing.
Fennel with peppers is a real umami bomb
Fermented fennel is somewhat of a secret favorite of mine. I know and love it in so many delicious variations. It works especially well as a spicy side dish for a barbeque, like this fruity, tangy, red-green smash hit in combination with peppers.
- 4 fennel bulbs (chopped 560 gr.)
- 1 1/2 red bell peppers (chopped 260 gr.)
- 1 fresh red chilli
- fennel fronds
- 17 gr. salt (2% of the weight of the vegetables)
- if necessary, water to top off
Cut off the top of the fennel, separate the fennel greens and chop finely. Slice the fennel, the bell pepper and the chili with the vegetable slicer on the finest setting. Cover everything together with two teaspoons of salt (17 gr.) and just let it stand until brine appears. I treat fennel very gently because otherwise it becomes too soft for me.
Stuff everything into a bail jar, and press down hard when you fill it so that no pockets of oxygen remain, and weigh it down to keep the small shreds from floating up. I recommend you use wide, flat weights with this ferment. Glass lids from Weck jars work great because they overlap so nothing can waft by. This is important to keep the vegetables out of contact with oxygen, so they stay in their anaerobic environment under the brine. Under the brine is fine! This is the key principle of safe fermentation, because anything exposed to the air could mold.
If you have the time, about 15-20 minutes, the osmosis will create enough brine by itself, so that all ingredients remain under the brine even after filling the jar. Otherwise just fill up with tap water. The salinity will then be somewhat lower, but still sufficient to provide an optimal lactofermentation environment.
The optimum filling height is 1-2 cm above the fermenting produce and 2-3 cm below the rim of the jar.
Place the glass in a dark rather than a light place and a bit warmer for the first week, at about 18° to 24° C at the most. If you have observed a perfect filling height, you do not need to worry further about the jar. If you fill jars too high, they will overflow during the fermentation process. Then you should put a plate underneath and clean the outside of the jar regularly.
Let ferment for 3-5 weeks and refrigerate one night before consumption.
Do you know my other combination with fennel and beetroot? If you like fennel, you have to try this too!
Fermented fennel with bell pepper and chili is a fabulously sweet and sour delicacy!
The ferment goes great as a side dish for spare ribs or topping for cold tofu.