I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph another of Kirsten Shockey's amazing collection of recipes for Taproot Magazine's latest issue: MEND. I fermented up some leek krauts and the unique leek-chi — kimchi made with leeks! I had a lot of fun dreaming up scenes for these leek creations, and even more trying them all afterwards.
RECIPE BY KIRSTEN K. SHOCKEY
Makes about 1 quart
6 cups (1½ pounds) leeks, with 2–3 inches of the green, sliced thinly crosswise.
2 teaspoons unrefined salt
2 large cloves garlic, or 1 tablespoon, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon dulse flakes
2 teaspoons dried chile flakes (this is for a medium heat, adjust to your taste)
- Place the prepared leeks in a large bowl with plenty of room.
- Sprinkle in the salt and toss to coat the leeks. Massage the leeks or press with a tamper for about a minute to begin the brine development.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in to distribute evenly. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and allow to sit for about 45 minutes.
4. After the waiting period the leeks should be limp and somewhat juicy. Work the mixture with your hands or a tamper if not. Press this mixture into a 2-quart jar or small crock. More brine will release at this stage, and you should see a small amount of brine above the vegetables. Be sure you have worked out all the air pockets.
5. Top the ferment with your favorite follower and weight combination or use a quart-sized ziplock bag. Press the plastic down onto the top of the ferment, then fill it with water and seal; this will act as both follower and weight. Your goal is to keep everything under the brine and anaerobic. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside on a plate to ferment, somewhere nearby and out of direct sunlight, in a cool spot for 5 to 10 days.
6. Check daily to make sure that the vegetables are submerged and scoop out any scum that develops. It’s ready when the color of the leeks change from a verdant green to a yellow green and the pungency of the leeks has softened and become slightly sour, ferment longer for more sour flavor. Hint: If you prefer a more sour ferment add a teaspoon of sugar to the mixture before fermenting, this will give acid loving friendly bacteria more to eat and convert.
Store in the refrigerator. This ferment will keep, refrigerated, for at least 6 months.