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Potent, healthy condiments deliver big flavor, few calories.

Byline: Melissa D'Arabian

When I was growing up, my family celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays. And one of my favorites was Passover.

Perhaps it was the Hebrew singing that made it special for me. Or maybe it was the rich meaning behind the foods that were served. One food I remember more than any other -- the horseradish that was traditionally served as the "bitter herb'' portion of the meal.

My mom would scoop a tiny bit of freshly grated horseradish onto a crispy matzo cracker, then hand me a pickled beet as a chaser. I was only a child, but the memory of that flavor combination has stayed with me, attached to memories of family dinners and my mom.

This recipe celebrates horseradish -- not the creamy sauce you find next to the roast beef at an all-you-can-eat buffet, but rather the actual root. Technically, horseradish is a vegetable and has health benefits similar to its root vegetable cousins. But with its strong flavor, we typically eat very small quantities, using horseradish more as a condiment.

Condiments that are low in sugar, fat and calories are an excellent way to infuse a healthy dish with tons of flavor. You can buy horseradish in root form at well-stocked markets, or keep a jar of grated horseradish in the refrigerator like I do. Mix it into salad dressings, meat rubs and into tangy acidic foods, like freshly-pickled veggies.

If raw horseradish is too strong for you, toss veggies or potatoes with it, then roast. This softens the flavor considerably. In this recipe, I make a chunky chimichurri sauce (with beet greens instead of herbs, as a wink to mom) to spoon over roasted fish right as it comes out of the oven. The heat will make the flavors in the sauce sing.

Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy.'' www.melissadarabian.net

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Title Annotation:Living
Author:D'Arabian, Melissa
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 25, 2015
Words:326
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