Now I agree a fresh tomato salsa is absolutely delicious! Summer perfection! So why bother to ferment one..? I’ve made this ferment twice. The first occasion was late last summer, when buckets of firm green tomatoes at the market were being sold for next-to-nothing as it was too late in the season from them to ripen fully. And the second was after a recent food shoot, where enormous amounts of tomatoes were needed, which I couldn’t then bare to see going to waste… So this recipe came about through the time-old need to preserve a glut. If you can try this one with green tomatoes definitely do – it’s sensational.
It works as any chutney, salsa or relish. It’s amazing with cheese toasties, as a bruschetta topping, or simply with fresh sourdough, olive oil and dukka. It’s equally good dolloped on curries and tagines. It’s best at room temperature rather than cold from the fridge.
This recipe is perfect for 1 liter Kilner jar.
to be whizzed:
20g Maldon salt
small hunk of ginger
1 clove garlic
1 red chilli
to be chopped:
1 banana shallot
Here we are working with the ‘dry-salt’ method of fermentation, and so will be using a ratio of 2% salt: we’ve got 1 kg tomatoes in all, so that’s 20g sea salt.
Rinse your Kilner jar with boiling water to clean thoroughly, and wash your board, knife and hands well.
Finely whizz everything in the top section of the ingredients list, either in a food processor or jug blender.
Chop the remaining 800g tomatoes, and very finely dice the shallot.
Mix everything together, and then tip into the Kilner jar and pack down well.
Leave this to ferment at room temperature for anywhere between 4-7 days. I find this salsa starts to ferment more quickly, and tends to continue fermenting in the fridge, although of course very slowly. More hardy ferments such as sauerkraut will take longer to get going, and become completely dormant once cold, I find.
Burp the jar each morning and night, to prevent too much pressure building up inside, and given that it’s summer, I would check the tomatoes after as little as 2 days. See how they are faring and pop in the fridge when you’re happy.
You can keep this salsa coarse, and I've done so with both the green tomato ferment and the red, but blending the whole batch once fermented creates a ‘raw ketchup’ style sauce - this works wonderfully as a gazpacho-style dressing on so many summer salads, particularly anything with an absorbent component such as quinoa.