Don’t be fooled by the title. The bruschetta, scrumptious though it may be, is really only a serving suggestion, a vehicle, for this fermented leek: a tangy, salty, sweet and mildly onion-y treat that pairs beautifully with this sourdough and cottage cheese bruschetta, and probably also with plenty of other things.
Fermentation is a way of preserving food, adding flavour and making it more nutritious. In order for these things to happen it makes use of the healthy bacteria naturally present in untreated vegetables, so make sure you only use organic produce. If you’re new to fermenting vegetables, here’s a post I wrote a while back that explains a bit more about the process, including ratios and basic safety rules. The recipe below gives ratios but no amounts, leaving you to decide how much fermented leek you want to make.
for the fermented leek
(by way of reference: I used about 300-400g leek to fill a 1l jar)
a clean glass jar with clip top or water lock
thin organic (!) leeks, outer leaves removed, trimmed, washed, sliced
5 % brine (cold water with 5% pure salt – without additives or iodine)
some whole spices of your choice (I went with mustard seed, nigella seed and fenugreek)
for the bruschetta
thickly sliced sourdough bread
black pepper (optional)
- Put your sliced leek into a scrupulously clean jar along with any spices you’d like to add.
- Now top up with the brine until the leek is fully submerged, but make sure to leave a few fingers headspace in the jar. Put something heavy on top to keep the leek from floating to the surface. For this, you can use a plastic bag filled with brine, a sauerkraut stone or another clean weight.
- Close the jar and put it somewhere away from sunlight – I usually put my ferments in a cooler, since it’s dark and easy to clean should some of the brine overflow after gas starts to build.
- I fermented my leek for about a week or 8 days, but the speed of fermentation will depend on the temperature in your house. You can start tasting after about 3 days and, once you’re happy with the taste and texture, put the jar in the fridge to halt the fermentation. It should at least be a little bit sour and not taste like raw leek anymore. The longer you leave it, the softer and more acidic it will become.
- Drizzle your slices of bread with olive oil and fry on medium-high heat in a frying pan until toasted and golden brown.
- Spread on the cottage cheese and top off with a generous helping of fermented leek.
- Grind some black pepper on top and serve immediately.