1 1/2 pounds large yellow or red beets, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 recipe Herbed Goat Cheese, recipe follows, cut into 8 round slices
1 to 1 1/2 cups mixed baby lettuces, washed and dried
1/4 cup Spago House Dressing, recipe follows
1/4 cup Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette, recipe follows
1 ounce toasted hazelnuts, recipe follows, coarsely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the beets in a small roasting pan and pour in enough cold water to reach about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the beets. Cover the pan with foil, and roast the beets until they are tender, 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- To check for doneness, gently insert a bamboo skewer into a beet. The skewer should slide through easily. Remove the beets from the pan, allow to cool, and then peel.
- Cut each beet into 1/4-inch-thick round slices. Cut each slice with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. (You will need 10 rounds). Cut trimmings into 1/4-inch dice and reserve 1/2 cup for garnish.
- In a saute pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Lower to a simmer and poach beets 1 minute on each side. With a slotted spatula, remove and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- When ready to assemble, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan. Arrange the slices of Herbed Goat Cheese in the pan and warm slightly, turning them with a small spatula just to warm both sides. This has to be done quickly, or the cheese will melt.
- To assemble the napoleons, place 1 of the beet rounds on a firm, flat surface and begin to layer. Top with a slice of goat cheese, then another beet round, a second slice of cheese, another beet round, a third slice of cheese, and a beet round. (Continue until you have 5 layers of beets and 4 layers of cheese.) Carefully cut through layers, dividing into 3 wedges. Repeat with the remaining beets and cheese.
- To serve, arrange 3 of the wedges, pointed ends facing out, in a circle in the center of each plate.
- Toss the baby lettuces with the Spago House Dressing and mound half of the lettuces on top of each arranged napoleon.
- Drizzle 1/2 of the Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette around each mound. Sprinkle toasted nuts and reserved diced beets on top of drizzled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Herbed Goat Cheese:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (7 or 8-ounce) log goat cheese
- Combine the parsley, chives, thyme, and pepper and place on a flat surface.
- Roll the log of cheese in the mixture, coating all sides and retaining the shape of the log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 (7 or 8-ounce) log.
Spago House Salad Dressing:
2 large shallots, minced (1 heaping tablespoon)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons zinfandel vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Freshly ground white pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots and the mustard. Whisk in the vinegars and then the olive and vegetable oil.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 1/4 cups.
Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette:
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup hazelnut oil
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice to a boil. Lower to a simmer and reduce until only 1/3 cup remains. Cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, shallot, thyme, vinegar and orange zest.
- Slowly whisk in both oils until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Makes 1 1/3 cups.
1 cup hazelnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange the hazelnuts on a medium baking tray and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. (This can be done in a toaster oven).
- Remove to a clean towel and rub to remove as much of the skin as possible. Chop coarsely and use when needed.
Makes 1 cup.