Old-Fashioned Relish Platter

Serves 4
This relish platter—pickled beets, corn relish, and cottage cheese—is a facsimile of the one perched on a lazy Susan in the center of the table at the Midwestern roadhouse where I had some of my first restaurant meals. Fried perch or walleye pike (see page 178) was the featured attraction, and you filled up on the array of pickled vegetables and cheese while you waited. Many different pies, like Peach Pie (page 278), were in the wings for dessert!


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound red beets, peeled, sliced lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks
  • 2 ears corn, stripped from cob (or 2 cups frozen, thawed, and drained)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces cottage cheese


1. Bring 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons salt, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Add beets, remove from heat, and cool to room temperature.
2. In a medium bowl, combine corn, scallions, red pepper, celery, 2 tablespoons vinegar, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
3. Transfer cooled beets, corn salad, and cottage cheese to separate serving bowls and serve with fried fish.

Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: