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beet, potato + avocado salad with horseradish vinaigrette


Any one of my friends will tell you that I’m pretty enamored with the whole Momofuku collective of restaurants and the Dave Chang/Christina Tosi-worship/obsession thing. I have the cookbooks, subscribe to Lucky Peach and dream of future trips to New York for some ramen, birthday cake truffles and a cup of cereal milk soft serve often. Like crazy often. The whole thing is just too cool without trying to be too cool. You know? There are the wildly popular (and super pork-y) items that everyone talks about (for good reason), but last time we were in town, there was a beet salad that seriously got me so, so excited about root vegetables. Believe that! Total sleeper hit.

There was a heaped schmear of creme fraiche on the bottom of the plate, lovely cooked beets all diced on top, capers, rough chopped parsley and fresh horseradish. It was really simple, gorgeous to look at and delicious in an easy way. I say easy because you could just scoop it into your mouth and enjoy all of the flavours and textures making sense together. It was balanced and flavourful without too much effort. These ingredients were pretty much made for each other and I can’t believe it took this long for them to get together on a plate in front of me.

A little snag: I can’t eat creme fraiche every day. It’s expensive and my stomach would hate me, so I came up with this version that I can eat all day, every day with avocado and sweet little yukon gold potatoes. Beets tend to have a love affair with anything that’s creamy, tangy or rich so this all works out pretty nicely. The horseradish and shallot vinaigrette punctuates everything with a strong, vinegary bite. It’s just a hearty, composed winter salad. I’m not craving lettuce much these days, but boiled root veggies and potatoes with brine-y stuff and chives on top? Yes please. And lots.

beet, potato and avocado salad with horseradish and shallot vinaigrette
serves: 4-6
notes: dice the shallot as small as you can so that the vinaigrette gets all in there and softens the pieces up.

vinaigrette
1 small shallot, finely diced/minced up
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup grape seed or other neutral flavour oil

salad
1/2 lb mini yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
2 medium beet roots, scrubbed
1 medium avocado, just ripe, not too soft and smushy-messy
10 blades of chives, finely sliced
juice of half a lemon
2-3 tbsp capers
salt and pepper

Make the vinaigrette: Combine the minced shallot and vinegar in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk well. Add the horseradish and mustard and whisk to combine again. Drizzle the oil into the horseradish/vinegar/shallot mixture slowly as you whisk it vigorously until thoroughly combined. Alternatively, you can throw the whole works except the shallots into the blender and put it on high for a few seconds and add the shallots to the mix after. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by about an inch or two. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes yield to a paring knife easily, but not so easily that they mush. About 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Place the beet roots in the boiling water and cook until you achieve the same knife-yielding tenderness of the potatoes. This should take longer, about 20 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and peel as soon as you are able, without burning your fingers of course. Cut potatoes and beets into small wedges and set aside in separate bowls.

Peel and pit the avocado. Slice it into 1/4 inch thick pieces and lay onto your serving plate. Squeeze the lemon over top of the avocado slices and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a bit of the dressing here too. Arrange the beets on top of the avocado. Drizzle some of the dressing on top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and some of the chives. Arrange the potatoes on top of the beets and drizzle with more dressing, salt, pepper and the remaining chives. Scatter the capers on top. Serve.

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amy22/01/2012 - 5:08 pm

oh, this is what winter salad dreams are made of! thank you.

Anna @ the shady pine23/01/2012 - 3:20 am

I could eat this salad any time…it looks really pretty and inviting!

CollegeCooking23/01/2012 - 5:51 pm

I usually bookmark recipes in hopes of getting back to them some day but I went out and made this one immediately as my lunch for the week. The only variations I made were buying pre-peeled/steamed beets and substituting rice vinegar for white wine vinegar because i was all out. Thanks for sharing!

Cookie and Kate27/01/2012 - 12:00 am

Ooh, I love that photo of the red beets in your hand! I want to learn to like beets, but they make my throat scratchy. This salad looks lovely, though.

Laura27/01/2012 - 7:15 am

Oh gosh that used to happen with me when I ate walnuts. Was deeply saddening. But it kind of went away over time! Hopefully beets are in your near future :)

Lindsay27/01/2012 - 2:15 pm

I just found your blog through happyyolks and spent the next two hours reading through your archives. Let me just tell you that I am feeling so very inspired (and hungry)! Your photo’s are beautiful. I love your writing style and your recipe ideas are just brilliantly fresh. Thank you for starting my weekend off right. I can’t wait to hit the market!

Laura27/01/2012 - 6:19 pm

Thank you for the lovely comment, Lindsay! Seriously so kind of you. Have a wonderful weekend :)

Tracy @ Daily Deal Blog02/02/2012 - 11:12 pm

Yum! This looks scrumptious. My kind of salad. 

[...] February 7: Beet, Potato, and Avocado Salad (from The First [...]

Hannah06/07/2012 - 12:18 am

Laura – just came across this while traipsing through your archives … I think you might seriously need to change the name of this dish, and call it something like Ron Salad (after my dad). Beets, potatoes, and horseradish are all on his greatest-hits list ;) I can’t wait to make it this fall … another gorgeous recipe. Thanks :)

Geegee16/10/2012 - 3:54 pm

Ok a) I found your blog yesterday and went through the entire archive bookmarking probably every single recipe and

b) This seemed like a very random combination of ingredients but the photo looked so good I made this TODAY (I’m freaking out, I love your blog so much) and oh my god is this heaven in my mouth! I can’t believe these ingredients complement each other so well! I’m very happy :) Keep it up!

Sherry in Union, KY24/02/2013 - 7:34 pm

Not only is this tasty, it is beautiful! Thanks for the recipe!

Olivia @nd the Giant Falafel03/03/2013 - 5:14 pm

Discovered this recipe yesterday and have been day dreaming about it ever since. Had no choice. Made this tonight. Added a 7 min egg and roasted carrot ribbons on top. Amazing meal! Thanks for the great post.

[…] Start off with a fancy but easy salad from The First Mess inspired from the momofuku restaurant group, with an awesome vegan twist of course: Beet, Potato and Avocado Salad with Horseradish and Shallot Vinaigrette.  […]

robyn24/11/2013 - 9:36 am

Saw this recipe the other day and immediately had to make it. Finally rounded up all the ingredients today, except I couldn’t find any proper prepared (or even raw) horseradish at my Aussie grocery store here (boooo) so I substituted a little wasabi, which turned out really well! And I also topped it off with some feta… Man, such a delicious salad. Thank you for posting! The dressing is so delicious I could almost drink it…

Alisa19/01/2014 - 10:11 pm

My boyfriend and I made this salad tonight; it is absolutely divine! The amazing combination of the sweet beets, the sour vinaigrette, salty capers on top of the hearty veggies makes this an amazing meal. So simple too! Will be coming back to this. Thank you for your inspiring recipes!

roberta riccio20/01/2014 - 12:03 am

Great salad_ it was a perfect match for some of the veggies I got from ourr farm share this week. Thank you! all other recipes look so yummy I just had to comment and join in so as no it to miss out!

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