Thursday, May 24, 2012

Buttery Beet Salad (with no butter!)

Love, love, love the color of beets, but their taste never did much for me until the first time I tasted roasted beets -- sweet, chewy, caramelized. It was flavor worthy of the color. This salad was the first time I discovered that cooked beets can also have a silken, buttery texture when shredded and lightly cooked. Beware -- beets cooked this way are addictive!

This recipe is adapted from the Grated Beets with Shallots recipe in Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook. My version is less spicy and uses less oil, and I've made a substitution for the shallots, but the beet flavor sings. It's delicious chilled or at room temperature. When I have this salad in the fridge, I find I scoop out a bit for a snack, so make plenty. You can also toss the extra into a green salad or put it on top of hummus. I bet it would be good in a sandwich, too.

Buttery Beet Salad

1Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp whole brown or yellow mustard seeds (omit if you don't have this)
1/8 to 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced into slivers
1 to 1.5 lbs. beets, peeled and grated (a food processor is great here)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs lemon or lime juice

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, put in the red onion slivers and fry for a minute, until they begin to soften and color. Add the shredded beets and stir everything together. Put in the salt and water. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to low, and simmer very gently for 10 min. Uncover, turn the heat up to medium,
mix in the lemon juice, and cook just long enough to be sure there's not a lot of extra liquid.

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