beets and more
Visiting son Brian in Reno, we were treated to a fine meal of grilled fish and what I will call “Natasza Salad.” It is a traditional Ukraine salad of beets, carrots, potatoes and celery and was prepared by Brian’s friend Natasza from Kiev. It was simple and delicious, so naturally, I wrote down how to make it:
“Roast and dice beets, dice and steam carrots, potatoes and celery, dice cornichons. Combine and toss with oil and vinegar.”
I got around to making it for dinner yesterday as root vegetables are prevalent this time of year. I love beets and get a few about every week at the Farmers. Though I find red beets incredibly beautiful, I’ve taken to buying golden beets lately; they taste the same and don’t bleed, so they’re great for salads.
Carol asked me to get celery root (celeriac) a couple of weeks ago. She does that, saying she wants to make this or that. It’s time to use it or lose it, so I substituted celeriac for the celery. I didn’t have quantities, so I decided to start with a small and a medium beet and match the other ingredients to that.
2 beets cubed – slightly more than a cup
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced Carola potatoes
1 cup diced celeriac
5 cornichons sliced thick
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head lil gem lettuce, leaves separated
Steam carrots, potatoes, celeriac for 5 minutes. While hot, toss with beets. Fold in cornichons. Dress with vinegar and olive oil.
Arrange lil gem leaves on a plate and spoon salad on to the leaves.
Dressing – I used a traditional mix of 1 part red wine vinegar to 3 parts xv olive oil — olio nuovo in this case. This salad needed more acid. Next time, I’ll use 1 part vinegar, 1 part cornichon juice, 3 parts oil.
Cornichons – 5 cornichons yield less than 1/4 cup. Needs double that amount.
Served with leftover ham loaf, sliced and fried in butter.