When it comes to eating, I’m a texture girl. Always have been. I can handle pretty much any flavor of food, but if the texture is not in agreement with my tongue, it’s a no-go.
Take, for instance, shellfish. Ask anyone in my family if I’ve ever knowingly eaten a clam (unless it was well concealed in a Rhode Island clam cake, i.e., fritter) and they’ll tell you no. Scallops, mussels, and oysters are all completely off the list. It’s amazing that I’ve only recently begun to eat shrimp, but I do actually tolerate it grilled. I once went to a party where escargot was served as an appetizer. I didn’t want to be rude, so I just swallowed it whole.
And mushrooms? I can manage to eat them raw, but put one of those slimy, sautéed things on a pizza and I’ll dig it out from underneath ten layers of mozzarella cheese to avoid its entry into my mouth.
That’s why I’ve been baffled by beets. Texture-wise, I’ve never had a problem with them. To me, they’re kind of like carrots. However, a beet is one of the few things I have disliked because of its flavor. Until now.
Thanks to Martha Rose Shulman, I now eat beets. She’s a cookbook writer who writes Recipes for Health in The New York Times food section on Wednesdays, which is how I found her recipe for Grated Raw Beet Salad. What caught my eye was the first sentence: “People who swear they hate beets love this salad.” I’ll admit I was skeptical but I thought I’d give it a try. If anything, I was entertained by the pretty colors the beet skins made in the kitchen sink.
But Rose knows what she’s talking about. My guess is the citrus does something magical by combatting the sweet, sickly beet juice that usually makes me gag, perhaps neutralizing it, in a way.
Adding the herbs gives extra flavor to overpower the beet juice.
I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!
I am now happy to buy beets at the farmers’ market because I found a recipe I like!