I never ate raw beets until I learned the trick of shaving them ribbon-thin. I now prefer them this way to cooked. This salad contrasts the sweet, earthy taste of the beets with tangy-sweet, aromatic pickled shallots--inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's new book, Plenty More--and a lemony vinaigrette. You can make the pickled shallots first thing in the morning or up to a day ahead.
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
5 ounces shallots, peeled and sliced into very thin rings
1 pound small white and golden beets, peeled
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon flake salt (such as Maldon)
How to Make It
To prepare shallots, combine first 8 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over shallots; cool to room temperature. Cover; refrigerate 6 hours or overnight. Drain; discard spices.
To prepare salad, cut beets crosswise into 1-inch disks. Shave beet disks into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandoline.
Combine rind, juice, and oil in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 1/2 cup drained shallots (reserve remaining shallots for another use), beets, and parsley; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with salt.
I'm making this recipe for the third or fourth time and I love it. Even my husband, who doesn't like cooked beets, enjoys this side dish. The cons: shaving beets. I just can't get the hang of it; but thinly slicing the beets seems to work just as well. The pros: Once I've made the pickling liquid, as I use the shallots, I slice and add more and it's good for at least several days if not longer; I just have to slice up a couple more beets and it's a quick side dish for weeknight meals.