Gingko Nuts: Two Ways
These pickled gingko nuts were initially inspired by a visit from Mike Ryan, the Chef de Cuisine at Elements, in Princeton New Jersey. Mike is such an amazing, creative guy. He and Chef Scott Anderson are doing some of the most exciting work with fermentation in fine dining today. They are the first restaurant that I have seen to incorporate kombucha into their dishes, rather than it being relegated to beverage status. They are creating hard cheeses out of almonds, fermenting them with Rejuvelac, and hardening them with transglutaminase. They are aging pork loin coated in uni paste. Really cool shit. Mike came into The Shop one afternoon and we hung out for a while tasting ferments and trading ideas. We were trying various misozuke, turnips, June garlic, and a three-year fermented pumpkin. Mike proposed fermenting chestnuts. I countered with gingko nuts. A couple of days later I started these and he started chestnuts.
I purchased some fresh gingko nuts and layered one batch in a two-year barley miso. The other batch I layered in a sake kasu that had burdock fermenting in it for 18 months. This kasu is beautiful. There is a heady aroma of sake, koji, and rich geosmin from the burdock. The kasu, after having a vegetable fermenting in it for that duration, is teeming with enhanced microbial activity. It is a superior product, ideal for short term ferments, especially proteins. I found that after two months both batches were quite delightful. The outer layer of the nut still had some resistance and density, with a slight chalkiness, while the centers had become a wonderfully flavored jelly. An explosion of flavor and texture in the mouth. Last I heard, Mike's chestnuts were still fermenting. I imagine they may take a year or more.
I know that this is going to lead to a whole miso & kasu fermented nut program at The Shop. Stay tuned.