ROASTED BEET SALAD
This dish always reminds me of monsoon season in Goa. Because of the heavy rains, fishing
boats can't go out for weeks at a time, so people tend to rely on salted fish such as
bacalao, or salt cod — a reminder that Goa was a Portuguese colony for hundreds of
years. Salt cod is generally soaked before using, but here thin slices of it are simply toasted in a
dry skillet until golden and charred in places, a technique I use often. Once the fish is cool, it is
easily shredded (just rub it between your hands) and blended into the salad, providing a slightly mysterious,
smoky backnote of flavor that balances the earthy sweetness of beets and the acidity of red wine vinegar.
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3 pounds beets
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces salt cod, excess salt brushed off
1 1/2 cups quartered and thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons halved, seeded, and thinly sliced mild to moderately hot fresh green chile
2 teaspoons minced peeled ginger
1/4 cup tightly packed thinly sliced cilantro
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350°.|
|Put the beets on a piece of heavy-duty foil large enough to enclose them and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle the beets with 1 tablespoon of the oil and wrap the foil around them to form a snug packet. Put the
packet on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and roast until the beets are tender when pierced with
a fork, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the beets. Let the beets cool, then peel them
and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (You should have about 6 cups.)|
|While the beets are roasting, cut the salt cod on the diagonal into thin slices. Toast the salt
cod in a dry small skillet over moderately high heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp, golden, and slightly charred.|
|Combine the beets, onion, chile, ginger, cilantro, sugar to taste, vinegar, and remaining
1/4 cup oil in a bowl. Season with pepper. Shred the salt cod over the beets (your clean hands
are the best tool for the task) and blend together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve the salad in a large bowl. The salad deepens in flavor if made 1 day ahead. |
Excerpted from ONE SPICE, TWO SPICE copyright © 2006 William Morrow Cookbooks.
Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All Rights Reserved.
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