Saltibarsciai, pronounced shal-tee-bars-chay, literally means cold beet soup. In Lithuania, it is a beloved summer staple, served both at home and in restaurants, by the lake and in the city. Made with grated beets and fresh buttermilk, it is the color of a brilliant fuschia, perfect for dressing up any Easter table at the opening of its season. Indeed, it does have a season; you will never findÂ Saltibarsciai served from October to April in Lithuania. But when the violets bloom, so does this soup. Either for lunch, dinner, or an afternoon snack, a bowl of SaltibarsciaiÂ (best served with a tall glass of beer!) will always hit the spot. And, the best thing about this quick and easy recipe, is that while it can be eaten right away, it gets even better when allowed to chill overnight in the refrigerator. Just donâ€™t call it borscht!
3 Eggs, hard-boiled, cooled, peeled, and quartered length-wise
6 cups Low-Fat Buttermilk
4 large Beets (2 15oz cans of cooked, shredded beets may be used instead)
1 Cucumber, peeled and diced, without seeds
1 cup Green Onions, finely chopped
2 Radishes, thinly sliced
Fresh Dill, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Eight servings of your favorite potato: boiled, roasted, fried, etc. Traditionally served as a side dish.
Boil the beets for about 30 minutes. Drain, and set aside to cool. (Skip this step if using canned beets.)
When the beets are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off and shred them. Or, for a more elegant presentation, julienne the beets.
In a large glass bowl, add buttermilk to the shredded beats until covered, and to the consistency of a medium-thick soup. If the buttermilk is too thick, it can be thinned with a little cold water. Add cucumber, green onion, and salt and pepper. Mix well.
To serve, place two egg quarters in the bottom of a bowl. Gently add soup to fill. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, radishes, and dill. Serve with hot potatoes on the side, and a tall glass of pilsner.