I used to get made fun of a lot for my stories that always began, "This one time in Russia...." See, I spent a semester in Southern Russia (Krasnodar) during college and then a year in Northern Russia (Petrozavodsk) post-college. I LOVED it and really cherish the friendships and family I made during my time there. And for awhile, I guess I used to talk about it a lot. You know, like the girl in the American Pie movies-- Band Camp Girl-- "This one time, at band camp...."
But, really, people. True story. This one time in Russia, I ate this beet salad and it was soooo good. Only I didn't just eat it one time. I ate it many times and I made it a lot. Russians do actually eat a lot of beets. (A lot of potatoes, too.... that's not actually a stereotype. Vodka, too. Lots of vodka.)
As we picked up our last CSA share this week, I realized that not everyone gets giddy at the site of beets in their CSA share... like I do. If beets confuse you, then this recipe is for you. It will give you something easy to do with your beets. I don't include amounts because it's really to taste. Experiment a little and enjoy with dark bread, a sprinkling of dill, and a shot of vodka. Na Zdarovye!
Russian Beet Salad
- Garlic cloves
- Salt, Pepper and Fresh Dill to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Cut off greens and scrub beets under cold water. Wrap whole beets in aluminum foil and roast 45 minutes to one hour depending on the size of your beets. You can wrap multiple small beets in the same packet. Once you can easily pierce the beets with a fork, they're ready. Be careful when you open your foil packets to check your beets-- a lot of hot steam will escape.
Let beets cool and peel off skin. It will almost slip off. Using a box grater, grate beets into a bowl. (Get ready to have your hands look like a scene from a horror film!) Press/mince one garlic clove into grated beets, sprinkle some salt, and dollop a generous spoonful of mayo on top. Stir all ingredients together until fully-combined. The beets will turn a lovely pink hue. Taste as you stir. Want it a little creamier/sweeter? Add a bit more mayo. Want it a little spicier? Add some more garlic.... but go easy, the garlic can build in intensity the longer the salad sits in your fridge. Add a little more salt and sprinkle with fresh dill when you're ready to serve.