Beet and Onion Salad with Spearmint, Egyptian-Style

comments (0) October 12th, 2012

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cookinwithherbs susan belsinger, contributor
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Beet Salad, Carrot Salad and Cabbage Salad make wonderful accompaniments to Moroccan Bisteeya.Click To Enlarge

Beet Salad, Carrot Salad and Cabbage Salad make wonderful accompaniments to Moroccan Bisteeya.

Photo: Sherri McCalla

Serves 6 to 8

About 2 pounds medium beets (about 5 or 6 medium-large), scrubbed
About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
About 3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher or sea salt
1 small white onion, cut into thin slivers
1/4 cup coarsely chopped spearmint
Few pinches toasted ground cumin seed, optional

This is a tasty and easy way to prepare beets. The tart lemon with the earthy-sweet beets and just a touch of honey makes a delicious dressing. The onion adds a nice pungency, while the mint is a surprise, refreshing addition. When they're available, young spring onions are a great substitution for the common onion. This recipe is an adaptation of the Beet-and-Onion Salad with Mint from the article 'A Lesson in Egyptian Classics' by Selma Abdelnour, Food & Wine, February 2012, page 114.

In a large saucepan, cover the beets with water and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat, covered, making sure the beets have plenty of water, until they are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size. Drain the beets, submerge them in cold water and rub the skins from them as soon as you can handle them. (I do this under cold running water.) Dice the beets into small cubes or julienne and put them in a bowl with the onion.

In a bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon juice and honey and season with salt. Pour the dressing over the beets and onion and toss to coat. Add the mint and cumin, if desired, and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 8 hours, stirring once or twice.  

Taste for seasoning before serving and adjust with salt, lemon, honey or cumin, let come to cool room temperature before serving, garnish with a bit more mint, if desired.

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