06 Feb Herby Eastern European Sauerkraut Pancakes with Salmon Roe
Sauerkraut holds a special place in my heart and arlready earned a permanent spot in my fridge. This fermented marvel is a testament to the art of fermentation and a culinary journey that dates back over 2,000 years to its origins in China. Despite its strong association with Eastern Europe, sauerkraut’s humble beginnings with cabbage and salt have made it a universal symbol of food preservation, creativity, and a nod towards a healthful lifestyle.
Fermentation is the secret behind sauerkraut’s magic, a process that nurtures the growth of lactic acid bacteria, transforming the simple cabbage into a tangy, probiotic-packed treasure. This method of lacto-fermentation not only significantly extends sauerkraut’s shelf life—vital in times before refrigeration—but also opens up a spectrum of flavor possibilities that have made sauerkraut a beloved ingredient across various cuisines.
Fun Fact: Did you know that in the 18th century, sauerkraut was used by sailors during long voyages to prevent scurvy? Its high vitamin C content was crucial for maintaining the crew’s health on the sea.
Sauerkraut’s versatility knows no bounds. It brings a lively zest to many dishes, from enhancing the flavors of sandwiches and salads to being the perfect companion for meats and sausages. In Ukraine, sauerkraut is more than just food; it’s a winter essential that captures the essence of the harvest season and plays a central role in cherished recipes like stews and varenyky. I wanted to change things up a little bit and offer you my take on Sauerkraut Pancakes. They are gluten-free, loaded with herbs, and laced with sour cream and salmon roe – a beautiful dish for a lazy weekend brunch or quick weekday dinner. Look for the recipe below the post.
For those eager to try making sauerkraut at home, the process is surprisingly straightforward. Here’s a basic method to get you started:
- Choose Your Cabbage: Start with a fresh, firm head of cabbage. Green cabbage is traditional, but feel free to experiment with red cabbage for a colorful twist.
- Shred and Salt: Thinly slice the cabbage and place it in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt; the general guideline is about 1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 pounds of cabbage. Massage the salt into the cabbage until it softens and releases liquid.
- Pack Into a Jar: Tightly pack the cabbage into a clean, airtight jar, pressing down firmly to encourage the cabbage to release more liquid. Ensure the cabbage is completely submerged in its own juice to prevent mold.
- Ferment: Seal the jar loosely to allow gases to escape and store it at room temperature, away from direct sunlight. Fermentation time can vary from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your taste preferences. Taste it periodically; once it reaches your desired level of tanginess, tighten the lid and refrigerate.
- Enjoy: Your homemade sauerkraut can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the refrigerator for several months, where it will continue to ferment slowly, developing richer flavors over time.
And for those looking to elevate their sauerkraut game, my all-time favorite recipe, Sauerkraut with Caraway Seeds and Sour Cherry, awaits on page 156 in BUDMO! But if you don’t feel like starting a week-long sauekraut adventure – get it from your local store! It’s convenient and still very tasty.
Sauerkraut is more than just a side dish; it’s a global culinary staple that bridges the gap between past and present, offering a delicious glimpse into the world of fermentation and the endless possibilities it brings to our tables.
Herby Sauerkraut Pancakes (GF)
- 2 cups sauerkraut drained and squeezed dry
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup finely chopped mixed herbs such as parsley, dill, or chives
- 1 cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
- 1/4 red chili flakes finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup neutral oil for frying
- Sour cream for serving
- Salmon roe for serving
- First, prepare the sauerkraut. If the sauerkraut is very coarse, you may want to chop it a bit so the pancakes hold together better. Ensure it’s well-drained and squeezed to remove excess moisture.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the drained sauerkraut, chopped herbs, chopped chili, and green onions to the eggs. Stir well to combine.
- Mix in the potato starch and the dried onion flakes. Season with salt and black pepper according to your taste. Remember, sauerkraut can be quite salty, so you might want to add salt sparingly and adjust as needed.
- The mixture should be cohesive enough to form pancakes. If it seems too wet, you can add a small amount of potato starch (start with 1 tablespoon) to help bind the ingredients. However, the goal is to keep the pancakes as light and as true to the ingredients as possible.
- Heat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Lightly oil the surface. Spoon the batter onto the skillet to form a 3-inch pancakes, flattening them slightly with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are golden brown and the edges are crispy.
- Serve the pancakes warm or room temperature. They can be enjoyed on their own or with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of salmon roe, and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.