...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food journal number 45: meatball and beetroot salad sandwich

Beets. The New York Times hailed it as "the new spinach". It's rich in folate, potassium and manganese. It contains less than 10% sugar and is good for diabetics. It contains betaine that is a good prevention against heart disease and strokes. It even reduces blood pressure. I'm so sold on the fact that it's healthy for you that we think beets are going to be a regular part of our menu in these cold, dark months. I'll write about the dishes we make, of course, and this is the first part of as many entries I can think of until we run out of ideas or I think of another vegetable idea to exploit :-)

One of the first Swedish à la fast food items we prepared at home when I was new here was the meatball and beetroot salad sandwich. It's a Swedish classic that appears in anything from the local gas station's hotdog counter to Christmas buffets. And it's simple, actually. You start with beets:

You go to the countryside and painstakingly gather some beets with your bare hands. You cut off the tops, brush the beets vigorously from dirt and cut them in halves (making sure that you don't get the red juices on you) before finally boiling them and preserving them in syrup. Two days afterwards, they're ready to be turned into salad.

Okay, I'm kidding. The slow food version probably tastes superb, but we didn't actually start with those fresh beets growing out in the countryside. What we really did was grab one of these:

Instant beetroot salad! Whoohoo!

(Don't be afraid of its neon pink color. It's completely natural. In fact beet juice will probably color anything red. Beetroot salad is mayo-based, so it's pink.)

I did say "à la fast food" right? To stress that I really mean what I say, we also used instant meatballs from Lidl. They're cooked and ready to eat in 15 minutes – the wonders of mass production!

Hmm... I wonder if all the meatball preservatives actually work against the beetroot's health effects. In that case, I hope the positive effects combined with the negative ones = no health effect, so we can continue eating this fast food creation any time.

The instructions on how to assemble the sandwich are self-explanatory: Grab a piece of bread (ours was Skogaholm's Varsågod with 6.5% fiber!). Generously slather on the beet salad. Top with meatball halves. Eat with gusto.

Unpretentious, uncomplicated, delicious!

P.S. Clicking on the NYT link in the intro paragraph above leads you to their "Recipes for Health" special on beets, with beet recipe inspiration and nutritional facts. If you're tempted to make your own Swedish beetroot salad (almost) from scratch, you'll need pickled beetroot to follow this recipe from Tasteline.


Anonymous Lara said...

hmm...maybe we should try this beetroot salad. we usually have pickled beetroot (well, just jaakko really, cause im not very fond of it) with meatballs.

hows your autumn coming along, joy?

4:37 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Hi Lara! Pickled beetroot is very good with pyttipanna though, isn't it? I think of it like atchara. Beetroot salad, as far as I know, is just pickled beetroots and apples in mayonnaise with some spices...

It's fine with me. My job start has been moved to December, but in some weeks I might get a racket transcribing interviews for the department. In the meantime, it's study, study, study so I don't get too late in comparison with the other doctorate students. It feels good to get into the study mode again, actually.


5:38 PM

Anonymous Lara said...

hej joy! yes he takes it with pytt i panna too, but we don't eat that too often :P

happy to hear how things are working out for you. all is well here in the northern front. just preoccupied with classes and...this week esp., watching a marathon of the pride and prejudice tv movie and the movie itself. :-)

8:00 AM

Anonymous JaakkoJ said...

Speaking of fiber-rich bread, I think finnish bread takes the first prize :). For example Rågkusar (Fazer) which should be available in supermarkets. Good fresh and with real butter/bregott. Or toasted. Also try "makrill i tomatsås" on it.

10:24 PM

Anonymous Esther said...

Ah that looks lovely! I LOVE beetroots and meatball sandwiches! I'd make it here in Niger if we had access to cream...

Swedish greetings from West Africa!

7:00 PM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

what does beetroot taste like? i'm intrigued by this sandwich :D

6:15 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Cheryl! I saw that you went to a retreat, no wonder I haven't been seeing any posts / comments from you for some time!

How do beets taste like? Read the next food journal! Haha :-) They're good. Kind of like corn but still very different... and it's not floury like potatoes at all, but more like the consistency of apples.

Oh yeah this sandwich is better than hamburger!

6:48 PM

Blogger aka Cheryl said...

i know, halos wala nang laman ung journal ko, it's become boring. my works eats up my time and i don't really mind except that i don't have much time to blog and comment. pfft. wow, gusto ko makatikim nyan. i wonder if they have beets here. and sayang i didn't eat meatballs in ikea in hk. i hear their meatballs are great!

6:34 AM


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