Curtido: Prep 15 mins Ferment 7-9 days Eat 7 days
Fish Tacos: Prep 2 mins Cook 5 mins Eat 7 mins
Curtido is a lightly fermented cabbage salad from El Salvador that you may have tasted while eating a pupusa at your local farmer’s market or your favorite Mexican or El Salvadorian restaurant. It’s cousin is the Korean Kim Chi that has become very popular. I was taught to make curtido at a Melissa’s Produce event by Master Preserver, Ernest Miller, while others made kimchi. What an interesting experience!
OK, this is not exactly Fresh Food in a Flash. While you can make it in a flash…in about 15 minutes, you will have to wait 7-9 days to eat it while the fermentation gods do their thing. But, the jar is beautiful while sitting on your counter out of direct sunlight. After the 7-9 days, you can open up your jar and taste your delicious lightly pickled veggies. Remove them from the jar, store in the refrigerator and make a new batch or curtido, kimchi, (If you’d like the recipe for kimchi from the Shes Cookin website, click here.) sauerkraut or giardiniera (my next project). Then, make some fish tacos with the curtido and some avocado slices in 7 minutes flat!
The first step is to cut your cabbage, carrots, onion and jalapeno. Add some minced garlic if you must.
The ingredients…water, pure salt, vegetables, and flavor such as jalapeno, lime juice and oregano for the curtido or daikon radish and dried red pepper for the kimchi. We used a 3% brine or 1 ounce of salt per quart of water. Larger vegetables require a 5% brine or 1.6 ounces of salt per quart of water. Do not use iodized salt, which kills the good bacteria that does the fermentation work.
Ernie talked about how our grandmothers used pickling crocks and methods
that don’t sound like they’d pass today’s sanitation standards. He has developed a modern Air-Lock Lacto-Fermentation Kit from Rancho La Merced Provisions in 1.5 or 3 liter sizes for $42-$58 that you can order online at Etsy or purchase at Whole Foods. Once you learn how to ferment food, you can make pickles, giardiniera (Italian), sauerkraut (German) and other pickled foods…and you can make them for a fraction what you’d pay in the market and customize the ingredients yourself.
Pack your vegetables into the fermentation jar, adding brine until you reach the “max” line.
Place the notched weighting jar on top of the cabbage mix and seal the container.
Fermented foods are super healthy too. They are a great source of vitamin C and micro nutrients. Also a natural probiotic just like yogurt, another fermented food. Are you sold yet? Making the curtido and kimchi was a great group project that I made with my fellow food bloggers. Seven days later, I’m making dinner in a flash with the curtido.
Inspired by the curtido, I simply added a stack of corn tortillas, a piece of rockfish, Cajun seasoning and an avocado to complete a 7-minute dinner. That’s what I call Fresh Food in a Flash.
Cook the rockfish in a little oil on medium high, 2 to 3 minutes per side or until the fish begins to flake. Slice the avocado while the fish is cooking.
Place the tortillas in a covered dish or covered plate and microwave for 15 seconds to warm them. Place some of the flaked fish into a tortilla. Add the curtido, an avocado slice and your 7-minute Fresh Food in a Flash dinner is ready.
Fermented Curtido (You will need a 1.5 liter fermentation kit to make this. Get one at Whole Foods or here.)
1 ounce salt, canning, pickling, kosher or sea salt
1 quart water
1 3/4 pound cabbage, shredded
1/2 pound carrot, julienned or grated
1/2 red onion, julienned
1 jalapeno chile, minced (remove seeds if you prefer)
3/4 ounce salt, canning, pickling, kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 lime, juiced
1. To make brine, mix salt and water, stir and set aside.
2. Discard outer leaves of cabbage. Rinse under cold running water and drain. Cut in quarters and remove core. Shred or slice in 1/4″ slivers.
3. Put cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. With clean hands, pack the cabbage mixture firmly into your clean 1.5 liter fermentation jar until salt draws juices from the cabbage. Be sure the jar is filled to the “max” line, but no higher. Place your clean, notched weighting jar on the cabbage and press down. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. If juice does not cover the cabbage, add brine and replace weighting jar. Seal your jar. Gently twist the airlock into place and fill the airlock with brine to the fill line. Set on your counter out of sunlight.
4. Curtido will be finished in 5 days when stored at 70° to 80° F or in 7 to 9 days, when storing at 60° to 65° F. You may allow your curtido to ferment longer, if you wish. Remove curtido from the fermentation jar and store in a covered container in the refrigerator for several months.
Caution: If the curtido becomes soft, slimy or develops a disagreeable odor, discard.
Servings: 24 14 calories per serving