"This Middle Eastern winter salad with a creamy, nutty taste and a delicious bite of onions, flavored with sumac and lemon," writes Jake Tilson, "is a great addition to a mezze supper." Sumac, a purple-hued spice that's ground from the dried berries of the sumac tree, has a sour, almost astringent, bite. It's used widely all over the eastern Mediterranean as a flavoring and souring agent, in such preparations as hummus and the ubiquitous sliced onions that accompany grilled meat dishes.
Yield: serves 6
- 3 unpeeled large beets
- Red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. ground sumac
- 2 handfuls arugula leaves
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- Flat bread, such as lavash
- Marinated olives
- Cook beets in a large pan of gently boiling water until tender, 30–40 minutes. (Add a drop or two of red wine vinegar to help set the beets' color.) Drain the beets and let cool. Peel the beets, then cut them into quarters and thinly slice.
- Put the sliced beets, sumac, arugula, and red onion into a serving bowl.
- Mix yogurt, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Pour dressing over the salad and toss gently. Serve with a flat bread, such as lavash, and marinated olives, if you like.
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