This unusually warm winter has us eating differently than we normally do at this time of year. I am still interested in cold salads and ice cream, where normally all I want are soups and heartier fare. It is hard to complain when a normal winter in Chicago brings sub-zero temperatures and a lot of pain and suffering. But still, Chicagoans are all walking about confused by our….good fortune? Weather effects our eating in ways I hadn’t considered and so today, in late February, I bring you a cold beet salad.
Beet salads are a dime a dozen. I tend to stay clear because they are often too sweet for me. Nancy Silverton apparently agrees and she inspired me to try adding some horseradish to spice things up. It works. I use Atomic brand prepared horseradish, which is fantastically spicy. You’ll end up needing somewhere between a tablespoon and 1/4 cup, depending on the prepared horseradish you choose and your sensitivity to heat. A handful of toasted walnuts is a good addition, especially it you want to add some crunch and protein. Silverton also suggests the addition of mache, I used chives but baby arugula would work and would give you even more spice.
This morning, as if to remind us we were still firmly in winter, Chicago was blanketed in a beautiful snow. But I’m not worried, they’re predicting sun and the 40’s by Monday. I’ll stick with beet salad.
Beets with Horseradish (adapted from the Mozza Cookbook)
- 1 pound red beets, stemmed, scrubbed and dried
- 2 tablespoons oilive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dressing and Serving:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- prepared horseradish
- fresh chives (I used about a dozen), cut into 1-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the beets in a small baking dish and toss them with the oil, salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until the beets are tender and easily pierced with a knife. Remove the foil and set the beets aside until cool enough to handle. When cool, remove the skin from the beets and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer the cubed beets to a medium-sized bowl.
Make a dressing by whisking together the apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and olive oil. pour the dressing over the beets and toss to coat them. Add between 1-4 tablespoons of prepared horseradish to the bowl with the beets and toss to evenly distribute. Taste and adjust seasoning. Transfer to a serving platter and top with the chives. Serve at room temperature, or cold. 4 servings.