Monday, January 17, 2011

Beet Salad Again--And Why Not?

Especially that it is such a winter vegetable. Beets have been very "in" in the culinary world for quite a few years now. But in Polish cuisine they have been in for centuries. So when I see the best chefs in the world proudly throwing them over the green salads, I smile. I smile even more when I look at the price of such dishes on the menu of the most renowned restaurants.

In Poland, beet has always been a vegetable of the poor, a country food. They still are just one of the most basic, cheap, and popular ingredients of our cuisine. And one of the most beloved. No wonder that I can post several recipes featuring beets in a main role to popularize this wonderful and healthy vegetable.

Besides being used for soups (barszcz) and as a warm meat accompaniment, beets are most popular in salads. Although I love Belgian endive with beets, or green salads served with them, I prefer traditional salads that truly capture their taste and the intensive color. They can be eaten on their own or served with cold cuts or grilled meats.

This is a second from probably about ten salads that I have been serving at my house, always with a great success, and not only to my Polish friends. I make it from roasted beets rather than cooked beets. They are more healthy and tasty that way, but cooked or even marinated beets can be used as well, although in the latter case I would cut out lemon and vinegar, which are used in this recipe.

Beet Salad
(Serves 4-6)

4 medium roasted beets, cut first into slices and then into sticks,
2 tsp lemon juice,
2 tsp white wine vinegar,
1 garlic clove, minced,
2 tsp olive oil,
2 tsp sour cream or yogurt, preferably Greek,
2 tsp mustard,
2 tbsp mayonnaise,
freshly ground pepper,
1 tbsp freshly chopped dill (optional),
1/2 tsp salt.

1. Put the beet sticks in a large bowl and season with salt, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar. Mix well gently and let them marinate for at least two hours or even overnight.

2. Make the sauce: in a small bowl mix mayonnaise, mustard, olive oil, cream or yogurt, garlic, and pepper.

3. Pour the sauce over the beets and mix gently. Let it stand aside for 30 minutes.
4. Season with dill and serve.

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