A Polish Summer: Beet, Cherry, and Garlic Salad

By Danielle Crittenden Frum and Anne Applebaum

This is a light, tart, refreshing salad for high summer. The recipe calls for sour cherries, which set off the sweetness of the beets perfectly. Sweet cherries can also be used if sour are not available, although the taste won’t quite be the same. Fresh sour cherries are sometimes available in summer farmers’ markets, but it’s possible to use frozen (defrosted) or canned sour cherries (drained) if fresh are not available.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer.

2/3 lb smallish red beets
1/3 lb sour cherries, halved and pitted
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

For the dressing:

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp grapeseed or other very light oil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the over to 400-degrees.

Wash and trim the beets and wrap them in foil. (Depending on the size of the beets, you can put three or four together in foil packages.) Place them in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they feel soft when pierced through the foil, but are still firm enough to be grated or sliced. Remove from the oven, open up the foil packets, and let cool. Slip off the skins (they should rub off easily). Cut the beets into thin strips, or else grate coarsely.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Put the beets, cherries, onion and garlic in a medium bowl and toss with the dressing. Serve at room temperature.

This recipe was published in From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food by Danielle Crittenden and Anne Applebaum. Chronicle Books. Copyright 2012 by Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden. Photo by Bogdan Bialy.