According to Sam, it was the best meal I ever made. He says that about once a week, but this time he was emphatic. I almost believed him. I do think it was pretty dang good–probably because everything in it would be delicious on its own. It was an amalgamation of tasty goodness. I don’t even know what to call it, but that doesn’t matter because good food doesn’t need a name. Here’s how I would describe it: Broccoli, sauteed beet greens, and penne with miso dressing topped with chopped fermented beets. The pasta salad would have been satisfying on its own, but topped with fermented beets, it deserved an emphatic “best meal ever.”
I like to think of recipes as outlines; I need room to experiment when I’m cooking, so I often read many recipes on the same dish, and, based on what I have in the refrigerator, I throw something together. I’m also often inclined to choose the most basic recipe so that I can flavor it as I like, which is what I did when making the fermented beets.
There are many ways to prepare beets for fermentation–you can grate them, slice them, chop them, or even ferment them whole, but there more surface area you create, the faster they will ferment. I decide against grating, since I’d like them to retain some crunch, so, after I peal them, I thinly slice them.
I follow the recipe here, but I also add about a half cup chopped onion and one minced garlic clove. I left my beets on the counter for about nine days and then placed them in the refrigerator. Air temperature also affects fermentation time, and the temperature here is about 60 degrees, which is probably why my batch took longer than three days. While on the counter, I used a plastic baggy full of water to keep the beets submerged in the brine.
For the miso dressing, I used the recipe here, simply omitting the honey and using rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar.
I tossed the miso dressing with lightly steamed broccoli, sauteed beet greens, and penne. I topped everything with a generous scoop of fermented beets, and viola!