If we did not live in an age where oil and metal carried us bountiful grapes from Chile and lettuces from California, those of us inhabiting the frozen tundras of the world, such as Michigan this winter, would be scrounging right now. Hopefully some tubers or onions would be kept relatively fresh in our cold cellars.
But the question is: what to do with the last of those shrivelly winter roots?
My grandmother is a good one to ask, hailing from Finland, where for centuries folks have been transforming underground veggies into various comforting, tasty dishes. She might propose to you a very merry salad known as rosolli.
A confetti of color and flavor, rosolli could be compared to potato salad, except that there are almost equal parts of two other vegetables and they are typically dressed in sour cream. It is traditionally Christmas fare, but in my family we enjoyed it at any time of the year, even in place of potato salad in the summer.
At first, the mixture looks slightly boring, bland, northern European…boiled: potatoes, carrots, beets, some fresh onions and a few pickles. But then you add the cream, dip your spoon into the mixture and begin to turn it over.
The muted tones of summer’s stored energy suddenly turn Fancy Nancy: a most sublime pink enfolds the entire mess of chopped roots and transforms itself into something that looks like a creamy dessert. Except it’s terribly savory, and very yummy.
The sweetness of the beets complements the potato and coupled with the crunchy pickles makes a salad worth turning into main course, served up with some thin Finn Crisps spread with avocado and cheese. And while the flavors are making you happy, don’t forget how much goodness is packed into these vegetables, which sat beneath the earth for several months drinking in minerals and other nutrients from the soil. This salad is bursting with health.
If you have little girls, you might get away with calling this: Perfect Pink Potatoes, or Fancy Nancy Salad “à la Betterave”…in any case, be sure your kids are watching when you do the mixing magic. They’ll be more excited about tasting your healthy creation if they help to make it. After whipping this up for the photo shoot today, we had it for supper, and I quote: “Mommy, could you make rosolli again and again? This is my favorite food!” (Followed by three servings).
Here’s the recipe:
Rosolli or Fancy Nancy Salad “à la Betterave”
Yield: 6-8 servings
4 large potatoes
3 medium beets
5 medium carrots
6 dill pickles, diced
1 small onion, diced small
1/3 c. or more sour cream, plain yoghurt, or vegan sour cream
sea salt to taste
- Scrub potatoes, beets, and carrots until clean. Place in pot and fill with water until vegetables are just covered.
- Boil until the beets are soft, about 35 minutes. (Check by poking with a fork).
- Let vegetables cool, then peel and chop everything into smallish bite-sized pieces. Here’s where your fingers will turn a fancy shade of pink!
- Place everything into a large bowl. Toss together with the sour cream, yoghurt, or vegan sour cream. (I used “Follow Your Heart” Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream and it was delicious.) Salt to taste.*
*If the salad is lacking punch, you may need to add more pickles or salt. The pickles are essential to bringing out the flavors, and you’ll be surprised how much salt a cold salad requires.
Photos by Robert Fusté