Kamis, 01 Januari 2009

Seven-Layer Salad, Estonian style


Here's another 'Estonian-style' dish for you, dear readers. But let me first take you back to my first trip across the big pond..

When I was in the US last summer (in June 2008), I spent a few days with a lovely foodblogger Alanna in St Louis, MO. Alanna took very good care of me, and fed me well. One of the dishes she introduced me to, was a Classic Seven-Layer Salad. Last night, at the New Year's Eve party at our place, I served an Estonian equivalent of that salad - which, rather appriopriately for a Beet Princess, also contains a generous beetroot layer. A recipe is adapted from an Estonian cookbook (Pereköögi kokaraamat, 2007).

It's best to use a straight glass bowl for this salad, so you could see the pretty layers. Also, make the salad at least the night before to allow the flavours to meld and develop.

Estonian Seven-Layer Salad aka Layered Beetroot and Cheese Salad
(Kihiline peedi-juustusalat)
Serves 8 to 10 as part of a buffet table

400-500 g boiled beetroot, coarsely grated
250 g coarsely grated cheese
4 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped*
4-5 pickled cucumbers, finely chopped
200 g frozen petit pois peas

250 g mayonnaise
250 g sour cream
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

chopped herbed
hard-boiled quail eggs

Mix the dressing ingredients together.
Place the frozen peas on a colander and pour over boiling water to 'cook' them (or you may want to actually blanch them for a minute, if you prefer). Drain thoroughly.
Layer the ingredients in a glass bowl in a following order: place peas on the bottom, top with grated egg. Spoon about a third of the dressing on top.
Then add the grated cheese, then beets and cubed pickles. Spoon the rest of the dressing on top, covering the whole salad thoroughly.
Cover with a cling film and place into a fridge until serving.
Before serving, garnish with peeled and halved quail eggs and some fresh herbs of your choice.

* Here's my tip for 'finely grating' hard-boiled eggs. I simply peel them, place in a deep plate and mash with a fork into fine crumbs :)

(The salad just after layering - you can already see the beetroot seeping through the layers).