Five stars for fabulously fermented fennel.
Can fennel be fermented? Oh yes, and for sure!
In summer and autumn, from June to the beginning of November, you can enjoy fresh, delicious fennel, with its sweet and anise-flavoured taste. When developing this recipe, my focus was on emphasizing its fine sweetness. The combination with shallots, beet and dill is really tasty. Shallots and beet both also have this fine, sweet taste, and dill works with almost everything anyway because it is so fresh and delicious.
Fermented fennel goes very well with smoked fish and Mediterranean cuisine.
- 480 gr. fennel (4 bulbs)
- 3 shallots
- 1 very small red beet
- ½ bunch of dill and the fennel green
- 10 gr. salt
- if necessary, water or brine to refill
Slice the fennel and shallots into rings with a vegetable slicer on the finest setting and grate the beet with the coarse side of the box grater. Chop the dill and fennel greens into small pieces. Cover everything with a teaspoon of salt (10 gr.) and knead until brine is formed.
In order for the fennel to retain a certain crunchiness, stop kneading just as it begins to soften - that’s usually before enough brine has been produced. Then simply fill up your fermentation vessel with water or a 2% salt brine. This is important so that the vegetables do not come into contact with oxygen and remain in their anaerobic environment under the brine. Under the brine is fine! This is the key principle of safe fermentation, as anything exposed to air could mold.
In order to prevent the floating of the small shreds and rings, I suggest you use wide, flat weights. Glass lids from Weck jars work great because they overlap and therefore nothing can get past them.
Fill the jar, including the weights, no higher than about 3 cm below the rim, pour the brine and leave to ferment in the dark. The first week is best between 20° and maximum 24° C. After a week, place a little cooler, between 16° and 20° C.
Let ferment for 6 weeks and refrigerate one night before consumption.