Beet salad is a staple at any Eastern European table, particularly around the holidays, but I would really love for my friends and family to see it in the same festive way as I did growing up in Odessa, Ukraine… this weekend, I actively researched a few ways to bring new life to this sturdy, nutritious and often overlooked root vegetable. Fall produce at the Half Moon Bay farmers market was simply stunning this weekend, so why not get some inspiration from the next big holiday and make something cool!
Having recently explored Joshua McFadden’s cookbook, Six Seasons (which got a glowing honorable mention in the New York Times) I was blown away by the intelligent and innovative way to make the tired old beet salad. Damn, he’s good! Before I knew it, I had the perfect, gorgeous, unexpectedly zesty Halloween party salad – the Bloody Beet Hallow’s Eve Salad.
- 2 lb beets, gold and burgundy (I bought one batch of each, on the small side)
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 orange, or 2 smaller sweet citrus fruit
- 1 nice lime
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp dried chili flakes
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped/pitted black & green olives
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ of small red onion, thin slices (used mandolin, if you have one, on lowest setting)
- Olive oil (to taste)
- Horseradish root (looks like rough giant ginger, smells mustardy!); shavings on top
- Optional: Goat cheese or feta (tempers the spiciness a bit)
- IMPORTANT: to achieve the “bloody beet salad” look, you have to roast your beets one day in advance. They are actually quite easy to roast. Start by heating your oven to 375F. After you wash the beets and get rid of any stems and leaves, cut all the beets into equally sized chunks (half or quarter, depending on what you’re starting with), and place them in a baking dish with ¼ cup of water. Cover with foil, and roast for 50 min or until fork-tender.
- Let your beets cool and stick them in the fridge overnight without touching anything
- The following day, you will be able to easily peel your beets. Cut them in any shape you want and set them aside in a bowl.
- Grab your orange or citrus of choice and segment it. Segmenting is easy! First cut the top and bottom of your orange and sit it one of its flat sides. Take your sharpest knife, and begin cutting peel, pith, and a bit of flesh away, rotating it evenly (your orange should start to look a bit geometric, but don’t worry!). Use a sharp knife to cut the flesh out between every two membranes – your citrus pieces will look really professional! KEEP ANY JUICE THAT’S LEFT OVER for the dressing.
- Grab your lime and peel it the same way, but instead of cutting the flesh out, just cut to make thin lime circles.
- The dressing: mix vinegar, ½ tsp salt, and chili flakes. Use any leftover juice (about a tbsp) to add to the mix. Stir into your beets – wait 5 min – stir again… you should be seeing your bloody mixture forming!
- Add the parsley, orange/lime pieces, olives, and really thin slices of onion
- Olive oil and radish grated to taste.
- Optional: looks best when chilled overnight
- Optional: as a Halloween dare, have your friends “drink the blood” from shot glasses… the dressing is spicy and oh so delicious.