Everyone knows a meal is more enjoyable with some company, but would you invite microbes over for breakfast?
That’s exactly what I did in this month’s Recipe ReDux, where our theme is getting your gut back in gear with natural fermentation. The basic idea is to harness “the transformative action of microorganisms” – as quoted in this Saveur article on fermented foods – to turn simple ingredients into tasty foods teeming with little critters.
Those bacterial and fungal colonists create rich flavors in the fermented food, and also join the existing flora in our guts to help keep things chugging along. The poster-child foods in this group include kimchi and sauerkraut (both are fermented cabbage), yogurt, soy sauce, cheeses and sourdough. Head past the jump to read about the one I tried.
I don’t have any expertise in creating fermented foods themselves, so I decided to work on a recipe that included one – pickled jalapeños. Using this recipe from Nourished Kitchen, I asked some lacto-bacteria over for a buffet of peppers, garlic and onion in a simple salt brine.
Now, the recipe said fermentation should only take a few days, after which I’d have olive-colored, hot-DANG pickled jalapeños. But I think the bacteria must have overlooked my invitation in their mailboxes, because mine, well, didn’t look much different:
But there was some obvious bubbling when I opened the jar, so I suspect there’s something going on in there. And they still tasted pretty good – garlicky and a little bit tangy – when I put them on top of egg-stuffed sweet potatoes along with some salsa.
Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did playing Host with the Most to pepper-loving microbes. If so, give your guests a warm comfy spot to sit with this recipe:
Egg-stuffed sweet potatoes with pickled jalapeños
2 servings, approx. 305 calories each
1 medium sweet potato
1 ounce Monterey jack cheese, sliced or shredded
Fresh ground black pepper
1 pickled jalapeño, sliced
*other fresh toppings of your choice (salsa, tomatoes, guacamole, etc)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pierce the sweet potato several times with a fork, then microwave it on high for 2-3 minutes. Turn the potato onto its other side and microwave for an additional 2-3 minutes.
That’s going to be one hot potato (har), so carefully slice it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh from the center of each half, being careful not to cut the skin on the underside and leaving a good layer of flesh attached to the skin. Put the potatoes in an oven-safe dish, ideally with a non-stick surface under them.
Divide the cheese in half, and put one half into the scooped-out well of each potato. Crack and add one egg to each well, and grind some black pepper over the top.
Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes or until the egg whites have set.
Remove the potatoes and top each with ½ of the jalapeño, plus any other fresh toppings you’d like. Serve and enjoy!
While the microbes may have forgotten RSVPs to me, I bet my fellow ReDuxers hosted some fermented fun this month. Check out the links below to see how their probiotic parties went: