This genial salad is an adaptation of a Russian dish that I first discovered in The Way We Cook: Recipes from the New American Kitchen, by Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). I make it with a number of additions and serve it with “borodinsky,” a dense rye bread from Russia.
Among the reasons to love this dish is the fact that you can serve it in summer, when all the produce is ripening at the same time. It also makes excellent use of late-season root vegetables. (Think of this dish the next time someone says they don’t know how to eat local in winter.)
Summer or winter, when it’s made with organic ingredients, it is hearty and nutritious enough to be a main course, with or without the ham. The dressing can also be used with tossed salads or as a bread spread.
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place unpeeled beets in small roasting pan; add enough water to come 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake until tender when pierced with fork, 60 minutes or longer. Uncover beets and let them cool down.
2. Meanwhile, place potatoes and carrots in a steamer basket and steam them in a covered saucepan over medium heat until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove cover and let them cool down.
3. Make dressing by whisking cider vinegar, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, and caraway in large bowl. Whisk in safflower oil a little at a time. Season generously with salt and pepper.
4. When vegetables are cool, remove the peels from the beets and potatoes. Cut beets, potatoes, and carrots into 1/2-inch pieces. Add them to the dressing in the bowl with green onions, eggs, ham, pickles, and parsley. Gently fold ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
5. Mound the salad on a colorful platter. Butter the bread slices generously. Surround the salad with buttered bread.
Copyright by Terese Allen