This beautiful holiday hors d’oeuvre delivers all the best of Ashkenazi cuisine — the tangy and bright and creamy and crunchy — in one bite.
3 medium beets, peeled, halved and cut into ½-inch chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch lengths
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small red onion, quartered through the root and sliced as thinly as possible
¾ cup chopped fresh dill
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
12 small, ½-inch-thick slices of sourdough or rye bread
1 8-ounce container crème fraîche or sour cream
1) Preheat the oven to 450° F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Put the beets, carrots, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper on the baking sheet and stir to coat. Bake, tossing once with tongs, until the vegetables are tender, 25–35 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to the touch.
2) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar, the lime juice, sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the onion slices and toss to coat. Let sit for 15–20 minutes, stirring once or twice, to soften and lightly pickle the onion. (Or cover and let sit in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)
3) Place the dill, lemon zest and garlic in a single mound on a cutting board, and chop until the garlic is minced and the ingredients are well combined.
4) Turn the oven to 400° F. Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and arrange on two large baking sheets. Bake until crisp and golden, 8–10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
5) To assemble the crostini: Spread each bread slice with about 1 tablespoon of crème fraîche and top with a few pieces of beet and carrot and some pickled onion slices. Sprinkle with the dill mixture and more black pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “The Little Book Of Jewish Appetizers” by Leah Koenig, Chronicle Books 2017.
This story "Borscht Crostini" was written by Leah Koenig.