some of you might be thinking…”hey! you’ve already posted this recipe!” and yes, this is true, you got me. i posted it more than a year ago…BUT over the past year i’ve come to some sort of salat vinaigrette revelation. it’s by far my favorite salad in ukraine (favorite because it’s the one that doesn’t have mayonnaise). i’ve eaten so much of it i’ve become, as some might say, a sommelier of salat vinaigrette — and by some say i mean just me. my original version of this recipe is fine, great even, for those who don’t have much vinaigrette experience, but as it turns out, i think i’ve been making mediocre salat this whole time! *gasp!*
maybe it’s because i’m american or because i hesitate every time i add oil and salt. or maybe because i didn’t get the secret from my host mom until now, but ukraine decided it was time for a mediocre salad intervention. this came in the form of my salat vinaigrette going mostly untouched by ukrainians at a dinner party later followed with words of salat advise from my host mom. on my last visit to my training host family my host mom natasha and i made salat vinaigrette together. i looked at her inquisitively when she tossed in some sugar to the salad. told me so sternly, knife in-hand as she poked the air with each staccatoed word, “look — kristen, you must understand, beets. love. sweet.” it felt as if were were talking about something much more serious than salad — but then again, she takes her salad making pretty seriously.
while it was the first time i’d heard of sugar in this salad, i searched the internet for any other sugary suggestions, but this must just be a mama natasha thing. it seemed odd, but really the whole sweet n beet thing wasn’t new to me. when cooked grated beets are cooked in a frying pan they caramelize and leave a wonderful slightly sugary crust. but prior to ukraine i don’t know that i’d ever even eaten a beet (gasp!). i love veggies but, uh, no one eats them in america. okay, i’m sure some people do, but really for the most part, it’s not a staple of our diets. which is a pity because i’ve come to LOVE beets. they’re so cheap and nutritious i throw them into everything! salad, soup, beet rostie, brownies, coffee. okay, just kidding on that last one.
so thanks to my host mom, my beet and salat vinaigrette education has become even more fine tuned and i’m confident that the next time i make this salad, ukrainians will most definitely approve.
salat vinaigrette // салат винегрет
3 medium beets, whole and unpeeled
2 medium carrots, whole and unpeeled
3 medium potatos, whole and unpeeled
2 large dill pickles
1 medium onion
1 small can green peas, rinsed, and drained
2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil (canola oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon black pepper
handful of chopped parsley
1.) in the evening, in a large pot of water boil beet (for 20 minutes), carrot and potato (for 10 minutes). turn off heat, cover the pot, and leave vegetables to soak till morning. leaving to soak overnight is essential!
2.) in the morning, peel and cube beet*, carrot and potato into fairly small pieces.
3.) chop pickle and onion, and combine with the root vegetables in a large bowl.
4.) add peas/beans, oil, salt, sugar, pepper, parsley. mix thoroughly.
5.) best served room temperature and store in fridge.
*be sure to wear an apron when cooking with beets!
yields: 8 servings