Beets are for more than borscht. They also make vivid salads, which the Russians take in various directions, mixing in walnuts and prunes for a touch of the sweet, or onions and garlic for a savory edge. This refreshing version gets a nice kick from horseradish and vinegar, along with tartness from grated apple. The quality of the sunflower oil is crucial here—only a good, nutty oil will bring out the best in the other ingredients. Like borscht, this salad tastes even better on the second day, or even the third.
Reprinted with permission from "Beyond the North Wind: Russia in and Lore" by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit: Stefan Wettainen © 2020.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size. Let cool.
Peel the beets and put them through the grating disk of a food processor. Peel and grate the carrot, horseradish, and apple. Transfer the grated vegetables and fruit to a medium bowl. Add the onion and season with the salt and pepper. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and sour cream and mix to combine. Chill before serving.