I consider cabbage and beets the pillars of Polish cuisine. No wonder then that whenever I hear about them being used in different cuisines or served differently than we do in Poland, I get territorial. I am extremely open to try new dishes and particularly vegetables, and I always look forward to trying and assimilating new recipes. But, whenever I read a recipe calling for beets or cabbage, my undeniably Polish nature comes out and I approach these recipes with a great dose of scepticism. What new could possibly anyone say about these vegetable to people who have been eating them for ages in any possible incarnation, often several times a week, and which are fundamental ingredients of all our holidays?
A new color--there are yellow beets available in many food stores, new shape--even in Poland we sell new beets that are long like cucumbers, or an old style salad recipe just refreshed by adding beets? But this recipe, one of those that I found in Met Home, appealed to me from the first moment I saw it. I believe that whoever created it, really understood what beets need to taste good. Beets are rather mild by nature and usually need a lot of sourness and some other spices to bring out their delicate taste. This recipe used some Middle eastern ingredients and, believe me, this beet salad with an Oriental twist tasted extremely good and interesting.
Oriental Beet Salad
3 medium beets cooked or roasted and peeled off (if you cannot buy them like that, cook whole raw beets in water for about one hour, or bake in an oven wrapped in aluminium foil for 45-60 minutes, then let them cool down and peel them),
2 small shallots sliced into very thin half rings,
2 tbsp sherry vinegar,
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (available in most Middle Eastern grocery stores),
2 tbsp rose water (also available in oriental food stores),
3 tbsp extra-virgin oil.
1. Cut beets into smaller pieces. Add cut shallots.
2. Mix vinegar,molasses,rose water and oil to make a smooth dressing.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour the dressing over the beets, cover and let them marinate for minimum 2 hours, or overnight.
Serve alone as salad itself, as accompaniment to meats, or add to other, for example green salads.