One of my Summer highlights was to have a dinner party for 4 friends and they all got to have this lovely beetroot. My inspiration came from an article that I ripped out of "Flavour" (a freebie foodie mag for the South West). I'm not sure if they still give them out for free and if they do where, but when I saw this recipe I knew instantly that it would be a great starter. I'm a recent convert to the merits of beetroot, mainly because the vac-packed pickled variety I tasted as a child did nothing for me then, and does nothing for me now. Fresh beetroot, however, is just amazing paired with cheese and salads. If you like goats cheese and beetroot, you'll love this - if you're unsure of those things I still think you'll like it. It's a brilliant mixture of flavours and it just looks so pretty...
So... if you would like to make Beetroot Carpaccio with Creamed Goats Cheese here's how:-
Quickly, before I begin I should say that this recipe had 3 beetroot stacks in mind, I felt, however that 2 was enough, but presenting even numbers never looks good on a plate. As I was debating the assemblage of them, Fiona had the genius idea of serving a "double decker" with the beetroot circles - perfect!
Oh, and the instructions recommended wearing rubber gloves not to stain your hands purple. I found them too slippery though and opted to just scrub my hands as best I could afterwards.
2 large raw beetroots
450ml (15fl oz) red wine
100ml (3.5fl oz) ruby red port
2 tbsp creme de cassis (optional)
225g (8oz) soft goat's cheese, any rind removed
3 tbsp basil oil
1 tsp snipped fresh chives
4 tsp balsamic syrup
1 punnet of salad cress
1 small granny smith apple
4 tsp toasted pine nuts
Maldon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Place the red wine in a large pan with the port, creme de cassis (if using) and the sugar*. Bring to the boil, then add the thinly sliced beetroot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until just cooked through. Leave to cool in the cooking syrup, then place in the fridge overnight if time allows. Once marinated, drain the beetroot well and reserve the syrup to use again for poaching pears or plums or for marinating more beetroot.
2. Place the goat's cheese in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of the basil oil and blend until soft. Stir in the chives and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 2.5 cm (1 inch) plain nozzle and chill for 10 mins to help the mixture firm up.
3. Immediately before serving, core the apple and shred into very fine strips. Drizzle each plate with a little balsamic syrup and arrange 3 slices of beetroot next to each other on top. Pipe the creamed goats cheese onto the centre of each of the beetroot, carefully placing another slice on top of each. Cut the salad cress with scissors and scatter on top with the apple strips and pine nuts, then drizzle over the remaining basil oil.
*There was just one problem with this recipe... it didn't say how much sugar to use to marinade the beetroot in. I used a tablespoon in the hope that the creme de cassis would add sweetness. I think it was about right. If you don't use that blackcurrant liqeur I'd definitely add a bit more sugar.
And that's about it, except for a link to Flavour magazine...