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Sunday September 24, 2006 7:49 pm

Fresh Beet Salad Recipe

Fresh from the earthI fell in love with Judaism one bite at a time—a rugelach here, a matzoh ball there, a crispy serving of potato kugel with the brisket.     

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is so sensibly sited when the year is really brand new, as the children return to school and the brisker days encourage resolution and effort.  To make the new year sweet, we are also encouraged to serve foods like apples dipped in honey.  For my family, no holiday dinner would be complete without Fresh Beet Salad.  This wonderful dish adds glowing color, firm texture, and tart sweetness.  It’s fast, easy, keeps for days, and will convert virtually all beet haters instantly to this inexpensive, filling and vitamin and mineral-packed vegetable.  What’s more, the greens attached to those beets are nutritious and yummy, too—more on that in my next post.

I first found this recipe in a cookbook published in 1984, From my grandmother’s kitchen: a Sephardic cookbook, by Vivienne Alchech Miner with Linda Krimm (Gainesville FL: Triad Publishing Co.).  Its pages are now splashed and dog-eared, because it’s full of zesty, easy, interesting recipes, as well as memories of Jewish life in Switzerland through the 1940’s.  It is great as written there, but it has metamorphosed into my own recipe over the years.  It can be doubled or tripled—a necessity in my family! Of course, you can use the dressing in another salad when the beets have been eaten.

Fresh Beet Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 fresh beets
  • 1 small onion
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Wine vinegar
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Slice greens from one bunch of 3 or 4 beets (I make another salad with the greens.), or use trimmed beets.  Scrub beets well with a vegetable brush and water, but don’t peel.
  2. Put in a pot with plenty of water, bring to a boil, and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, or until just easily pierced with a fork or knife tip.  Drain (if you save some of the bright red water, it adds great flavor to soups.)
  3. Meanwhile, finely dice one small yellow, white or red onion. Make a dressing of ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 T (tablespoons) red wine vinegar (cider vinegar will do if necessary), 2 T lemon juice (at least partly fresh), ½ t (teaspoon) kosher or other salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Let beets cool enough to handle gingerly—they must still be warm when you dress them.  Wear rubber gloves if you don’t want dyed hands. The skins will come off easily.  Cut off the ends and slice thinly (for ease, cut in half and then slice flat side down).
  5. Put beets, diced onions and dressing in a pretty bowl.  Refrigerate, but take out a little early so it won’t be icy cold.  Taste and correct for salt.

 

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