This is another traditional Swedish recipe that I included for John’s Swedish-style Christmas dinner. Whenever we attend a Swedish Heritage Society function, this salad is served, often along with Swedish Meatballs and Swedish Red Cabbage and Apples. (At my house we L.O.V.E. Swedish Almond Cake.) There are a large number of Swedes or people with Swedish heritage in Salt Lake City and the Swedish Heritage Society is thriving.
Each year the Swedish Heritage Society holds celebrations at various times of the year–Midsommar, Crayfish Festival (Kräftskiva), and my favorite, Lucia. Lucia is held in the month of December, on or near December 13th. I love the story of Tomte–the Swedish Elf who lives under the floorboards of the house or barn and watches over the family throughout the year and who brings gifts at Christmastime, the singing of traditional Swedish songs (favorite being about little green frogs–Små grodorna), the beautiful Lucia processional, and of course, the food.
This is Christie Bergeson as “Lucia” in 2007. Christie is a friend of my daughter, Katie; the two of them used to be on the same swim team. My husband knew Christie’s mom, Annette, when he lived in Sweden.
The first time I saw this salad, I thought that it was going to be sweet. It looks like it would taste sweet, doesn’t it? SURPRISE! It’s mostly tangy, with a hint of sweetness from the apples. It took my brain a few moments to register that I was not eating something sweet and to decide whether or not I liked what I was eating.
The more of this salad I ate, the more I decided that I liked it. It can be made with pickled or unpickled beets–you choose. I have had it both ways and do not prefer one over the other. The recipe that I am using here uses pickled beets and was sent to me by Anna at Scandinavian Cottage. She saved me a lot of stress because I wanted to make sure that I had an “authentic” recipe. Thanks, Anna!