This dish comes from the family archive of my friend Judy. In her home it is served with gefilte fish on Passover. I’ve never been a huge fan of gefilte fish, in fact in our house we make a lightly pickled salmon dish instead. Judy assures me that one could serve this beet dish as a side with a white fish, or gefilte fish, or even salmon. During Judy’s Seder they put the Beet Horseradish on matzo when one is meant to taste the bitterness of slavery. Though I’m certain that Judy’s Jewish ancestors did not have access to yellow beets, I do – and I thought that the color combination of one batch made with a purple beet and one batch made with a yellow beet would be spectacular – and it was. Fair warning before you set out to make this – it is a huge challenge to deal with fresh horseradish. When cut or grated it produces a gas far more overpowering than that produced by onions. I have to work with all of the windows open and I repeatedly mutter under my breath – “what on earth was I thinking??” I swear off horseradish for a year or two, and then Passover comes around again and I think – “it really wasn’t that bad, was it?” Or maybe it’s about suffering the bitterness of slavery both when making the dish and when eating it. Either way, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Passover Beet Horseradish
- 1 large beet, scrubbed
- ¼ pound fresh horseradish (about 4 inches)
- 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place the beet in a medium pot, cover it with water and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil turn it down to a simmer and cook until the beet is easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Cool, peel, and then coarsely grate into a large bowl. Pause. Open every window possible. Take a deep breath of clear air. Ready yourself, and peel the Horseradish. You can either grate the horseradish using a fine grater or food processor. I prefer the food processor because it keeps some of the killer gas trapped inside the food processor rather than out in the room with me. In a small bowl stir together the horseradish, vinegar, sugar and salt, and then pour this liquid/horseradish combination over the beets and mix well. Makes about 2 cups. Can be made a day ahead.