The combination of pickled beets and horseradish is common in eastern Europe, and its popularity has been co-opted by German cooks, who have long used both elements in the kitchen. If possible, use homemade pickled beets to create the robustly flavored topping for this simple salmon dinner.
1. In a food processor, combine the pickled beets, horseradish, parsley, and lemon zest and juice and pulse until the beets are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Brush the grill rack with canola oil.
3. In a spice grinder, combine the coriander seeds and dill seeds and pulse until coarsely ground. Pour into a small bowl and stir in the salt and pepper. Evenly coat the skin side of each salmon fillet with one-fourth of the spice mixture.
4. Place the fillets, skin-side down, on the grill rack and cook until the skin starts to get crispy and the fillets can be easily lifted from the grill, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the fillets and continue to cook until the flesh is firm to the touch and begins to flake when prodded with a knife tip, about 5 minutes longer.
5. Transfer the fillets to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve each fillet with one-fourth of the beet-horseradish mixture.
Rote Bete und Eier
Makes about 3 qt/270 g
You can find pickled eggs everywhere in Germany, but they are most frequently made with a salt brine rather than a vinegar one. The addition of beets here is a shout-out to Berks County where Jeremy grew up. Most local bars have big jars of red-stained pickled eggs at the ready for any drinker craving a quick beer snack. The pickling process here is longer than it is for most of the recipes in this chapter, and it results in eggs that will last for about 6 weeks in the fridge.
1. In a large saucepan, combine the beets with water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook the beets until they are tender when pierced in the center with a paring knife, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size.
2. Scoop out the beets and set aside to cool, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Measure 2 1/2 cups/600 ml of the beet cooking liquid and reserve. Discard the remaining cooking liquid or reserve for another use.
3. Pour the reserved beet liquid into a medium saucepan and add the vinegar, wine, salt, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, bay leaves, and star anise and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, let the liquid cool, transfer to a covered container, and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, slice the beets 1/2 in/12 mm thick. Divide the beets, onion, and eggs evenly among three 1-qt/960-ml jars (or equivalent capacity) and pour in the chilled beet liquid mixture to cover. If the liquid does not cover the vegetables and eggs, add vinegar as needed to cover. Cover and refrigerate.
5. The pickled vegetables and eggs will be ready in 4 days. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks.
Jeremy and Jessica Nolen, New German Cooking: Recipes for Classics Revisited, Chronicle Books (2014).