Who says melons are the only produce to go to the ball? Carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, and radishes want to have fun too!
I’ve always loved fruit salads made with little balls of melon and other fruits. They are so pretty to look at! I had the melon baller in my hand recently and a carrot on my counter, and started to play. It took a few minutes, but soon I had a little pile of beautiful orange carrot balls. A purple Daikon radish and a watermelon radish came next. Soon, potatoes, and a golden beet joined the party. I have to say, this was a most enjoyable time in the kitchen, and it made me laugh.
A quick dish
I boiled the veggie balls in a shallow pan of lightly salted water and cooked just until barely done, starting with the carrots and potatoes, and adding the radishes at the last two minutes. I tossed in some frozen peas at the very end, drained everything, and pondered the possibilities.
Roasted, these would be lovely served with any entree, or they could be chilled and turned into a traditional potato salad-type side dish.
I decided to make a light vinaigrette and add a few little enhancements. Served on a bed of pea shoots, this salad was not only a hit, but a good source of potassium, Vitamins A and C, fiber, protein, and calcium! Top it with a bit of tofu, and you’ve got a luncheon salad!
You can use any combination of root vegetables that you like, but it is most fun to vary the colors for a rainbow effect. You can make the balls from fresh vegetables, or from already cooked.
I’m making this for New Year’s Brunch!
Have a Ball Root Vegetable Salad
2 cups assorted root vegetable balls
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. capers
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
2 tbsp. sweet or hot red peppers, finely minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. caper brine
Salt and pepper
Prepare the balls using a sharp melon baller. For the carrots, cut off the thickest end, and use the tool to dig down into the carrot vertically. It took a couple of practice dives, but it actually works fine. For the other vegetables, cut them in half and proceed in the same way you would a melon.
Either steam the vegetables, or boil/steam quickly in a pan of shallow salted water. Add the longer-cooking vegetables first, and check at 2 minutes with the tip of a sharp knife. Add the peas at the very last, and cook for only a minute.
While the veggies are cooking, heat a tablespoon of oil in a small sauté pan and add the garlic over medium high heat. Stir constantly for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant and just barely starting to brown. Add to a large bowl.
Once vegetables are done, drain, and place in the bowl.
Add the capers, horseradish, peppers, and parsley.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and brine, and pour over the vegetables, add some salt and pepper, and toss it all together gently.
Serve on a bed of lettuce, pea shoots, arugula, or any green you like. Sprinkle with a little finishing salt, and perhaps a few poppyseeds for color.
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