Critics' Pick: Divine Brine beet caviar
This locavore relish tames the ruby root with horseradish.
Mon Apr 4 2011
Horseradish is nothing to be trifled with. Astringent and harsh on its own, the spicy root represents embittered Israelites on the Passover seder plate for a reason. Beets, on the other hand, are nature's candy: Bright and sweet, they perk up just about everything they touch. Brilliantly combining and preserving the two just in time for the Jewish holiday: Divine Brine. This new Long Island pickling outfit has dubbed its magenta creation "beet caviar"—a nod to both the jar's finely chopped contents and its Eastern European origins. Queens native Robert Schaefer, a former chef and founder of the year-old company, took inspiration from Ukrainian friends, who minced their beet slaw so finely it resembled fish eggs. Years later, the name has stuck, but Schaefer has updated the recipe with his own briny twist. Julienned upstate--New York beets and grated horseradish are soaked in apple-cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Together, the two vegetables make an appealingly odd couple: The earthy beets get extra pep from the sinus-clearing punch of horseradish, and the tangy brine throws in a welcome sour kink. Use it to perk up a seder plate, or keep some on hand to slather on sandwiches, serve alongside hard-boiled eggs or enjoy in its simplest form—straight out of the jar. Available Saturdays at the Inwood Greenmarket (Isham St between Cooper St and Seaman Ave, 8am--2pm) and Sundays at Carroll Gardens Greenmarket (Carroll St between Court and Smith Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 8am--4pm). $7.