Jonathan Swift once said that it was a brave man who first ate an oyster.
I’ll say something similar for horseradish. Whoever first tried it must have been awfully hungry. Horseradish is truly ugly, with an irregular shape and knobby bumps and hairy tendrils growing out of it. So it isn’t as if that brave soul couldn’t have resisted.
In addition, once you get through horseradish’s mottled, uneven, earth-colored peel you meet up with knock-you-over vapors so strong and pungent that they irritate your eyes and make your nose run.
Well, whoever that was, I’m sure glad he/she did.
Horseradish is a wonder. I always have some in the house. So many things to do with it:
mix it with ketchup for homemade cocktail sauce
mix it with butter for use over steamed veggies
mix it with plain Greek yogurt for sauce over roasted salmon
mix it with creme fraiche as a topping for vegetable hash or frittata
And zillions of other things.
But horseradish makes a special presence during Passover, first as the bitter herb at my Passover table and second, as a replacement for the Dijon mustard that at other times is key to the vinaigrette dressings I use over salad.
For example, this Beet Salad with Baby Arugula. I often serve beet salad at my Seder in place of the fish course (because my daughter Gillian is allergic to fish). The recipe here is this year’s edition.
Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Red Onions and Horseradish Vinaigrette
6 medium beets
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon freshly grated white horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups packed baby arugula
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Scrub and trim the beets, cutting away the greens, if any. Wrap the beets tightly in aluminum foil and roast for about one hour or until the beets are tender. Remove the packet from the oven, open the foil and let the beets cool. Peel the beets, cut them into bite-size pieces and place in a bowl. Add the onions, horseradish and dill and toss the ingredients. Pour in the olive oil and cider vinegar and toss the ingredients. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place equal amounts of arugula on each of 6 plates. Arrange the beet salad ingredients on top. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings