Thursday, July 2, 2009

Colorful, Seasonal Potato Salad from Serving Up the Harvest

I must admit, my passion for gardening far exceeds my passion for cooking. Maybe it's because my vegetable garden is three or four times the size of my postage-stamp kitchen, or maybe it's because the growing season is fleetingly short (at least in my semishaded, hillside plot) and the cooking season is, well, endless. Moving inside to prepare the bounty feels like an undertaking I would rather procrastinate about until autumn, when the days are shorter and less idyllic, but of course this defeats the purpose of growing fresh vegetables at all, doesn't it?

The solution has been finding recipes that are both simple and seasonal — which is where Serving Up the Harvest comes in handy. Arranged by season/corresponding crop, it's become a culinary guidebook to my garden once it begins, row by row, to produce and has saved many an excess vegetable (why did I plant so much Swiss chard?) from being wasted.

Since the Fourth of July is right around the corner and with it opportunities for potluck cookouts and outdoor gatherings, it seems appropriate to share a recipe from the "Early to Midsummer" chapter that's not only seasonal in terms of ingredients (small beets, fresh chives and new potatoes) but festive in appearance (as in "please pass the magenta potato salad!") and lends itself well to making ahead and sharing as a side dish. To see other recipes we've shared, click here. Meanwhile, we'll be sharing more recipes from Serving Up the Harvest throughout the growing season.
Beet and New Potato Salad (from Serving Up the Harvest)

Neon, lurid, garish — it’s hard to find an exact description for this dazzlingly bright, magenta-colored salad of beets and potatoes, garnished with chopped hard-cooked eggs. The sweet beets are combined with new potatoes, sour cream, dill, and horseradish. Bed it on greens and serve with dark Russian rye or pumpernickel, and you have a lovely salad supper.

Serves 4–6

12 small beets (about 2 pounds), tops and roots trimmed to 1 inch
1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and quartered if large
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream (regular or reduced fat) or yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, or to taste
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Wash the beets, but do not peel. Divide among three large sheets of aluminum foil. Wrap to form well-sealed packets. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until the largest beet is easily pierced with a fork or metal skewer. Remove from the oven, open the packets, and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water to cover in a medium saucepan until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the oil and vinegar.
Toss to mix. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and set aside.

4. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip off the skin and cut into wedges to match the size of the potato pieces. Add to the potatoes.

5. Mix together the sour cream, dill, scallions, and horseradish. Add to the potatoes and beets, and toss to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings. The salad should sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. If you like, you can hold it in the refrigerator for up to one day.

6. Before serving, garnish with the chopped egg, if desired.

— Melanie Jolicoeur, Associate Director of Marketing

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