I’ve been delighted with the awesome brussels sprouts that have been showing up in veggie boxes this session. I have loved brussels sprouts for as long as I can remember; even when I was a kid and we ate frozen brussels sprouts warmed in the microwave and covered in processed cheese sauce. Somehow I can’t see my kids going for that. I love brussels sprouts for their uniquely nutty, sweet, and pungent flavor, somewhere between broccoli and cabbage but with a twist. They’re also really good for you -- so much so that even if you’re not a huge fan, you might want to find a way to become one. I have a theory that most people who don’t like brussels sprouts probably haven’t had them cooked right...perhaps they also grew up eating them from the microwave and found the results less than satisfying. But brussels sprouts aren’t a one trick pony. You may look at them and think, “huh. Not many options…” when in reality, brussels sprouts can do ANYTHING! Well, not anything. But just about. Brussels sprouts can be roasted, sauteed, steamed, shredded and used as a crunchy salad base, made into creamy soup, made into non-creamy soup, and fermented. It’s the fermented action I want to talk about today, since last week’s veggie share provided us with not one but two of the main ingredients for this easy and delicious kimchi.
This is a great, delicious, and fun fermentation recipe. The spiciness can easily be adjusted for a more mild or more intense kimchi.
Brussels Sprout Kimchi
(Recipe Adapted from Fermentationrecipes.com)
2 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
1 medium daikon radish, cut into disks
Brine of 3T unrefined sea salt and 4 cups of filtered water
1 1/2 T diced ginger
1T diced garlic
4T red pepper (use less for a mild kimchi, more for a very spicy version)
1T fish sauce or shrimp sauce
Rinse and gently clean the brussel sprouts, daikon, and ginger
Slice the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise
Cut the daikon into disks, approx 1/8″ thick. If you daikon is particularly fat, cut in half lengthwise first
Dissolve the salt into the water to make a brine
Place the brussels sprouts and daikon into the brine and let it soak for a few hours or overnight if you prefer. Do your best to compress the veggies to get as many of them under the liquid as possible.
Drain the brine and reserve it for later
Finely dice the ginger and garlic
In a large bowl, mix the ginger and garlic with the drained vegetables, chili powder, and fish or shrimp sauce, and toss to combine
Place everything in a wide-mouth glass jar or other fermenting vessel. Put some pressure on it with your clean fist to encourage compaction. Unlike cabbage ferments there will not be sufficient liquid in the veggies to fully cover the veggies.
Add back in some (or perhaps all) of the reserved brine so that under pressure, the brine covers the veggies.
Place a weight on the veggies to keep pressure on them and to encourage the liquid level to rise above the veggies. A clear plastic produce bag filled with brine works well for this. It’s important when sealing the bag to leave some looseness in the bag rather than filling it tightly with air. The looseness will allow the bag to settle and conform to the shape of the fermenting vessel, thus making a perfect seal which keeps air out but allows gasses to escape as needed.
Cover with a towel
Let it sit for 2-3 weeks, tasting regularly as you go to get a feel for how the flavor changes.
Jar it up and refrigerate when you like it in order to significantly slow the fermentation