January 13, 2015

Beet Salad With Sunflower Seed Picada

Recipe: Eric Vellend

In Spain, a picada is a combination of chopped garlic, bread and nuts, and usually used to thicken and flavor a sauce. Here, it adds a crispy, nutty element to the salad.



  • 12 mixed beets, each about 2″ in diam.
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup cold-pressed sunflower oil


  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup cubed country-style bread, crusts removed
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 1 bunch watercress, thick stems removed
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice


Yield: Serves 6

  1. To roast beets, preheat oven to 325ºF. Toss beets with vegetable oil and salt. Place on parchment-lined baking tray. Roast until tender, 1 ½ to 2 hours. When cool enough to handle, trim and peel. (If skins don’t rub off, use paring knife.)
  2. While beets are roasting, combine shallots and vinegar in bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Whisk in honey and sunflower oil.
  3. For presentation, cut each color of beet into a different shape — for example, red into wedges, golden into cubes and rainbow into slices. Place each color beet into a separate mixing bowl. Toss all beets with some dressing, salt and pepper. Refrigerate up to 1 day. Serve at room temperature.
  4. To make picada, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Line baking sheet with paper towel. Cook garlic until golden brown, 2 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to baking sheet. Cook bread, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. (Let oil cool and save for another use.)
  5. In bowl of food processor, pulse garlic and bread until coarse crumbs form. Add sunflower seeds. Pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to bowl. Stir in parsley. Season with salt.
  6. To make salad, toss watercress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Arrange on serving platter. Top with beets. Sprinkle with some picada.

Stacey Brandford


House & Home April 2014