Certain foods are so controversial they elicit almost immediate expressions of love or hate. Cook liver for dinner and you are sure to get a quick reaction, one way or the other.
Beets also seem to fall into this category. Some people can't even stand the color, whereas others adore the slightly sweet flavor of this root vegetable.
I happen to adore beets, having been brought up on the cold beet soup known as borscht, a staple in my grandmother's kitchen. Grandma Rose always made borscht from fresh beets so I have a preference for plain cooked fresh beets over canned or pickled varieties. Perhaps that is the root of my affection for this salad, a longtime favorite quickly made in the food processor.
The word mimosa in the recipe title refers to the presence of chopped whole hard-cooked eggs used for garnish. The finely chopped eggs resemble yellow mimosa flowers.
Eggs are not difficult to chop in the processor, although care must be taken not to overprocess.
Since eggs are a soft food, half-second pulses are used for chopping. A dry processor container and blade is also essential to prevent the eggs from absorbing moisture and transforming a delicate crumbly mimosa garnish into squishy egg salad. BEET SALAD MIMOSA WITH MUSTARD-DILL SAUCE
2 pounds fresh beets, trimmed, leaves and stems discarded
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
1/2 cup snipped dill weed
1/4 cup firmly packed stemmed parsley leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup mild olive oil or vegetable oil
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed, cored and drained
Halve beets or cut into large pieces of roughly equal size. Place beets in vegetable steamer basket set in soup kettle. Fill with enough water to barely touch underside of steamer. Cover and steam until beets are tender when pierced with tip of sharp knife, about 20 to 25 minutes (begin testing after 15 minutes because timing will vary with size of pieces). Drain beets on paper towels until cool. Scrape to remove skin. Refrigerate to chill.
Insert metal blade in dry processor. Cut eggs in halves, then chop finely with half-second pulses. Set aside.
Wipe container clean. Process dill, parsley and sugar until herbs are minced. Add vinegar, lemon juice and mustard and process 15 seconds. With machine running, add oil in thin stream within 1 minute. Transfer sauce to jar and set aside at room temperature as long as 6 hours before serving.
Rinse processor container, drain and insert medium shredding disc. Shred beets with gentle push, then refrigerate.
At serving time, arrange 1 large lettuce leaf on each dinner plate, cutting stem-end so leaf lies flat. Cover stem end with 1/2 cup shredded beets. Place 1 tablespoon chopped egg on each side of beets or in another attractive arrangement. Spoon 3 to 4 tablespoons sauce onto each plate but do not cover egg or beets with sauce. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.