champagne-fermented crudité

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champagne-fermented cruditéHere is a great way to start a meal, with a nod to both the West (Champagne to start) and the East (using the age-old nuka pot). Spent Champagne lees are removed from the bottle, usually after several years, by employing the modern approach of freezing the neck of the bottle to solidify the lees, allowing for easy removal. We take these lees and add them to a traditional nuka pot of rice bran, dried bread, salt, and vegetables.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 2 kilograms | 8 cups Champagne disgorgement (lees)
  • 400 grams | 1 ⅓ cups kosher salt
  • 50 grams | ½ cup ground dried levain bread
  • 1 .8 kilograms | 4 pounds toasted rice bran
  • 100 grams | 1 cup carrot peelings
  • 100 grams | 1 cup radish peelings
  • 100 grams | 1 cup turnip peelings
  • 12 | baby carrots with tops
  • 12 | baby radishes with tops
  • 12 | baby turnips with tops
How to Make It
  1. FOR THE CHAMPAGNE NUKA: Warm the Champagne and kosher salt in a saucepan over low heat to dissolve. Add the bread and stir continuously until a mash consistency forms. Mix the bran and vegetable peelings into the mash and pack into a ceramic container. Cover the container with a cloth towel and store in an area with an ambient temperature of 70°F (20°C). Every 24 to 36 hours, remove the nuka and agitate it to introduce more oxygen. After about 4 months have elapsed, the nuka will have the proper fermenting capabilities. Be sure to continue the aeration process to ensure beneficial microbial growth. If the nuka should ever rise in temperature on its own, add 3 percent more Champagne disgorgement and 5 percent more rice bran by weight to energize the bacteria and equalize the anaerobic process.

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