Beet Salad recipe – Eastern Europeans have been eating beets for ages, most likely because they are full of vitamins and keep well during the long winter season (I’m going to chalk this up to us being awesome and beets going great with vodka, though.) This wonderful root vegetable, however, is just getting popular in urban America. Nothing makes me happier than recently seeing beets appear more and more frequently on restaurant menus in New York. They are versatile, adaptable to both sweet and savory dishes, delicious pickled and make a beautiful, colorful presentation. Beets taste great and, as an added bonus, are low in calories and have outstanding health properties, permitting dieters and health nuts to indulge guilt-free. The root’s unpopularity in America most likely originates from their bad rep as limp and flavorless canned vegetables and their outlandish purple color. As their health properties become more and more well known, so has the vegetable and the truth is that they are tasty, relatively fuss-free (wear an apron or dark clothing while making a beet-based recipe) and very easy to prepare.
One of my favorite childhood recipes is the Russian beet salad. It is a popular celebration appetizer, variations of which appear on holiday tables, picnics and cook-outs throughout Eastern Europe. It is traditionally served cold or at room temperature with a variety of pickled vegetables, other savory salads and an arrangement of cold cuts. There are many different versions of the basic recipe, making it adaptable to an array of tastes and eating preferences. The recipe below is my preferred version, prepared simply with beets, caramelized garlic and onions, sour cream and mayo. If you don’t like the creamy dressing or are vegan, it can be easily substituted with a little olive oil, or an olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle, without compromising flavor. Those who prefer a sweeter appetizer can add plumped raisins to the recipe (at the same time as the onions.) Nut lovers will find that adding half a cup of lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts to the salad makes this recipe even better and gives it an additional crunchy texture. Without further ado, and right in time to impress your friends with a little commie flavor for your Memorial Day Barbecue, here is the recipe: see also : Mixed Bean and Pasta Salad recipe
Russian Beet Salad recipe
2 medium beets (when buying, make sure the roots are firm and undamaged)
1 small yellow, Spanish or Vidalia onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sour cream
salt & pepper to taste
a few sprigs of fresh dill for decoration (optional)
Wash the beets well in cold water, making sure to scrub the surface in order to remove all the dirt. Add whole beets to a small pot and fill it with cold water until it just covers the veggies; bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the beets are easily pierced by a fork (about an hour). If water level falls below the beet surface, turn them upside down halfway through to make sure both sides of the beet are cooked evenly. Place the pot with cooked beets under running cold water for a few minutes, then turn off the water, leaving them in the pot, and let them cool.
In the meantime, peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and crush garlic. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic and onions. Cook until lightly caramelized, place in a bowl and let cool while you finish the beets. Peel beet skins (this should be easily accomplished by sliding your thumb over the skin – it should come right off) and trim off both the root and stem ends. Shred the beets on a shredder or in a food processor, and place in a bowl. Add caramelized onions and garlic to the bowl with the beets.
If you are serving the salad right away, add mayo and sour cream to the bowl and fold gently until combined, making sure not to crush the beets. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fold until combined. Decorate with a sprig of fresh dill for a contrast of color and serve with your choice of entree, or as a healthy cold appetizer.
If you are not serving right away, put the salad in the fridge and add dressing right before serving. Covered and chilled it will keep for about 3-4 days. see also : Middleeastern Millet Salad recipe