I could invent some sort of rationale for having made this meal—minimalism, balance, a focus on good ingredients—but, honestly, I just came across the recipe and found it irresistible. I was sold on smoked salmon and al dente pasta. Pulling this salad together, flavor-wise, proved challenging, but ultimately rewarding, once we hit the right balance.
What better thing to do with beets on a hot summer day? We followed the recipe from Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook, which I wholeheartedly recommend; it also has a great hot borscht recipe. We made some modifications to the cold borscht recipe to make it more like the cold borscht (actually, svekol’nik) made by ib’s great-grandmother.