Beet Salad with Poppy Seed + Chive Dressing
SERVES 8 TO 10
I always like making unfussy vegetable dishes as part of more elaborate holiday menus. They add color and variety to your spread, and you can also rest assured your guests can fill their plates with something healthy. This beet salad is one of my go-to vegetable dishes because it’s a little unexpected yet totally easy to make, and you can whip up the dressing and cook and slice the beets ahead of time and easily assemble the whole thing at the last minute. Also, it’s best served barely warm or at room temperature, which makes it especially perfect for a big dinner.
If you can’t find poppy seeds, just leave them out. The beet salad will be just as good without them. I like adding them because I love how they look and I also love the little crunch they add, plus I think of them as a nod to poppy seed bagels, which were an integral part of my gastronomic-Jewish upbringing.
2½ lbs [1.2 kg] red beets, scrubbed
2 Tbsp plain yogurt or mayonnaise
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground
1½ Tbsp poppy seeds
3 Tbsp minced fresh chives (or a thinly sliced scallion minus the tough ends)
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the beets (the water should cover the beets; if it doesn’t, add more). Cook the beets, turning them every so often, until they’re tender (test with a paring knife), about 45 minutes (it may be a bit less or a bit longer depending on the size and age of the beets, so start testing at 30 minutes).
Drain the beets, transfer to a paper towel–lined cutting board, and use the paper towels to rub off the skins. Trim off and discard the root ends.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, pepper, poppy seeds, 2 Tbsp of the chives, and ½ tsp salt.
Slice the warm beets into thin bite-size wedges or thin rounds (whatever you prefer) and transfer them to a large serving bowl or platter. Season them lightly with salt and then drizzle the dressing evenly over them. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp chives. Serve immediately.
It’s Me Again
As simple as can be, put leftover beet salad with its dressing into a food processor and pulse until puréed. You can make the dip as smooth or as rustic as you like. Season it to taste with salt and pepper and add a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice if you need a little extra edge. Serve with crackers, toasted bread, or carrots or on endive leaves or cucumber slices … anything!
Reprinted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018