Why's it called the "Borscht Belt Salad?" Funny you should ask.
Remember Henny Youngman—that old Borscht Belt comedian with the violin and famous one-liners like, “Take my wife...please!”? The legendary Jewish comic got his start on the New York Catskills comedy circuit, aka the Borscht Belt, that was popular from the 1940s through the 1960s. Well, when Henny's wife, Sadie, said to him, “For our anniversary I want to go somewhere I've never been before,” he said, “Try the kitchen!”
So in honor of Mrs. Youngman's culinary lethargy, I created this simple salad inspired by the refreshing essence of borscht. Vibrant beets, cool cucumber and herbaceous dill conspire as loudly as Henny's out of tune violin to announce big, babushka-like flavors. It's so easy to throw together, even Sadie wouldn't have minded making it. It shouldn't taste funny, though. I left the funny to Henny.
Beet, Cucumber and Dill Borscht Belt Salad
Equal parts beets, cubed, quartered or sliced
Equal parts unpeeled organic cucumber, cubed, quartered or sliced
Handful of fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
½ heaping tsp Dijon mustard
½ medium shallot, minced
Sea salt to taste
Steam or roast beets till fork tender. Peel and let cool. Cut beets and cuke in same size shapes—either cubes, wedges or slices. Add vinaigrette and dill. Let chill for half an hour and serve.
The Borscht Belt Salad first appeared (sans recipe) in the post, A Job Farewell: Nine Years and Nine Salads.