Making Sauerkraut Salad for Supper

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

A wonderful winter recipe

from the most recent pamphlet

This great recipe is one of 12 in the back of the pamphlet, “A Taste of Zingerman’s Food Philosophy.” I started making it in the winter two or three years ago and it remains one of my favorites for this time of year. After all, even when local vegetables are in short supply, we do have some world-class sauerkraut from David Klingenberger and the crew at The Brinery!

Sauerkraut Salad may sound a bit strange to most American ears, but seriously, it’s terrific. As the name implies, it starts with sauerkraut rather than salad greens. I use naturally fermented kraut from The Brinery. It’s what we use at the Deli on the Reuben and sell through Mail Order in the Reuben Kit. Seriously, the stuff is superb. And superbly good for us too. Dr. Zach Bush, whose work on holistic health strikes a deep chord with me, says:

Foods that undergo wild (air) fermentation are among the most ancient gut health tools. Wild and live fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kavas, and kefirs gain much greater biodiversity than probiotics through the hundreds of species that are introduced to the fermenting crock from the ambient air environment.

All of which means that although I’ve really been making the salad for the flavor, it happens to be really good for your health as well! Over the years, I’ve used three different Brinery krauts, but any of their offerings would probably work well: Fair ’n’ By (green cabbage, filtered water, sea salt), Stimulus Package (green cabbage, filtered water, caraway seed, sea salt), and Galaxy Rose (green cabbage, watermelon radish, filtered water, sea salt). Both the company and the kraut are terrific, totally values aligned for us here at Zingerman’s. As David says, they “aim to stimulate both your inner economy with living fermented foods, as well as the economy of our greater community and local food movement.”

To make the salad, start by putting a bunch of sauerkraut in a mixing bowl. A healthy handful per person would work. Add a good bit of fresh apple, cut into chunks, and then add an array of vegetables. You can use whatever you like—as I said above, winter vegetables work really well. I did fresh fennel, celery, and a carrot one night. The next night I added bell pepper. Watermelon radishes are wonderful and so is celeriac. Sprinkle on some sea salt and a grinding of black pepper. I added a bunch of the wonderful Wild Quebec Caraway seeds we get from our friends at Épices de Cru. Sprinkle on some Gingras oak-barrel-aged organic apple cider vinegar, add a little extra virgin olive oil, and a bit more black pepper if you like. Mix well, then let the salad stand for a few minutes. Eat and enjoy. The sour crunch of the kraut, the sweet brightness of the apple, and the savory freshness of the vegetables all come together in a shockingly good way. Last but not least, I like it too with chunks of a good mountain cheese mixed into the salad as well. And that Schallenberg is ideally suited to it!