Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Beet, Apple & Goat Cheese Stacked Salad

I'm always such a sucker for a fancy presentation. There's no question, it can be very nice! I will also admit that such presentations usually take extra time and fiddling on the part of the cook, and tend to make things harder to eat. This one certainly fits that pattern.

The stacks consist of layers of firm (beets), crunchy (apples), and smooshy (cheese). This is a slightly tricky combination to cut, and I suggest you supply each diner with a steak knife to best approach these.

There is also a lot of "waste" from these, because you will have the trimmings from the stacks themselves, as well as bits of the apple and beets which were not suitable for cutting into 2" or larger rings. Don't throw that away! Chop it all up a bit and toss it together with any leftover cheese and marinade; put it back in the fridge and serve it in little scoops on mixed greens tomorrow as a more informal salad. Of course, if you can't be bothered with cutting your salad into fancy stacks at all, you could do that with the whole lot in the first place.

And now it's time to take a break for Christmas... we are up to 11 here this year so it will be a very full house and lots to do. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I hope all my readers have good holidays, and best wishes to you all for a happy new year.  

4 to 6 servings
30 minutes prep time
 - not including cooking or marinating the beets

Beet, Apple & Goat Cheese Stacked Salad

Cook & Marinate the Beets:
2 to 3 large beets (about 500 grams; 1 pound)
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, ground
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
the juice of 1 large orange, minus 3 tablespoons set aside

Cook the beets in plenty of water to cover until tender; given that you want to use quite large beets expect it to take somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour. Drain and cool enough to handle. Peel them and slice them a scant 1/4" thick.

Mix the ground rosemary, orange zest and orange juice in a coverable container. Add the beet slices, gently moving them to be as covered in orange juice as possible. Cover them and set them aside for an hour. They can also be put in the refrigerator and kept until the next day.

Make the Salad:
150 grams (5 ounces) soft goat cheese (chèvre)
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon rich milk or light cream
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, ground
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 or 2 large apples (same diameter as the beets)
about 2 cups mixed salad greens
parsley or walnut halves to garnish

Put the goat cheese in a small mixing bowl, and mix in the orange juice and cream to make a light, spreadable but not runny mixture. Mix in the rosemary, orange juice, salt, and pepper.

Wash the apple(s) and cut into scant 1/4" slices. Cut out the cores.

Stack the slices of beet and apple, spreading about a teaspoon of the cheese mixture into a 2" circle in the middle of each slice as you go. I found 3 slices of beet with 2 slices of apple worked well. You should start and finish with a slice of beet - the apple is inclined to break when cut, so it's better inside. Don't spread cheese on the top slice.

Cut the finished stacks with a good sturdy, sharp, 2" biscuit cutter. Be sure to centre it well and press down gently and evenly. When the biscuit cutter has made it down to the cutting board all around, use a knife to trim away the cut off bits. Lift the stack, with the cutter still around the base, and press gently up to remove it from the cutter. Place it on a bed of salad greens, either on a serving platter or on individual serving dishes. Garnish with a sprig of parsley or a walnut half held in place with a dab of cheese. Repeat with the remaining slices of beet and apple, and the cheese.


Marnie said...

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Ferdzy said...

Right back atcha, Marnie! And thanks for reading and commenting.