Finnish beetroot salad is usually served as a piquant accompaniment to various meat, fish or sausage dishes.
Commercially made pickled beetroots often have an underdone texture, or their pickling liquid is either too vinegary, too sweet, or over-spiced. Instead of them it is better to use homemade pickled beetroots, or unpickled boiled beetroots, also readily available vacuum-packed in many grocery stores.
CREAMY BEETROOT SALAD
2 - 3 medium pickled beetroots
1 - 2 small apples (preferably tart)
Finnish curd cream, crème fraîche or sour cream
Drain and pat dry the beetroots. Finely shred the beetroots and apples, or cut them in thin julienne strips. Mix and season with pepper (and salt).
Add some curd cream, until you get a mixture resembling creamy potato salad in consistency. Cover and chill the salad. Serve to accompany various meat, fish or sausage dishes.
Besides apple, you may also add shredded, boiled potato and chopped onion or leek to the salad. For added flavour or acidity, mix in some sugar, a dash of vinegar or finely grated fresh horseradish or horseradish paste.
CREAMY BEETROOT SALAD WITH HORSERADISH
In this version of beetroot salad, freshly boiled beetroots are used instead of pickled ones, giving the salad a softer, less acidic taste.
2 small or 1 large fresh beetroot
1 - 2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 - 2 tbsp whipped cream
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper
pinch of sugar
finely grated fresh horseradish or horseradish paste to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Cut off the long, leafy tops of the beetroot(s), if still attached. Brush the beetroots clean if they are dirty, but do not damage or pierce their skins. Place the beetroots in a saucepan and add cold water enough to entirely cover them.
Cover the pan with a lid, bring the water to the boil and simmer until the beetroots are tender, yet still firm. Check the tenderness by inserting a fork or a toothpick in them.
Drain the beetroots, let them cool enough to be handled and peel them. Cut off the stem part and the tails. Use gloves to protect your hands from the highly staining beetroot juice. Also protect the working surface, cutting boards etc, or they could be permanently stained.
To do this, you can use newspaper, plastic, baking parchment etc. Slice the beetroots thinly and cut the slices into thin strips.
Spoon the mayonnaise in a bowl and mix in the spices, horseradish and lemon juice. Finally fold in the whipped cream and mix gently until smooth. Stir in the beetroot strips.
Add some more cream or mayonnaise, if needed. Cover and chill the salad. Serve to accompany various meat, fish or sausage dishes.
Shredded tart apple, chopped onion or chives may be added to the salad.
Recipe source: family recipe/traditional Finnish recipe.