by Lauren Mote
In this time of cheap and cheerful, a little love goes a long way.
The most expensive part of this dish is the “acidulation” liquid.
Simmer red beets (skins on) in water with aromatic spices, I chose coriander seeds, peppercorns, red pepper flakes and bay leaf, for about 75 minutes until fork tender.
While they’re still warm to the touch, pick a pair of rubber gloves and peel back the skins with the pressure from your hands – no knives required!
Thinly slice – about 1/3 inch, put into small pot. Splash pot with vanilla and balsamic vinegar (it’s expensive, so don’t use a lot!) and place on med. heat just to create some steam. Lean pot towards you, and spoon the liquid over the beets – exercise caution as this is alcohol and could “flambé” at any moment and perhaps singe your brows.
Next, prepare the goat cheese mousse – my inspiration for this was from David Hawksworth. Take 4 tablespoons high quality goat cheese – I used Juliet goat cheese from the Farmhouse. In a small mixer, hit it with a quarter clove garlic, salt, pepper, and 3 tablespoons 35% cream. Blend. Place mixture in piping bag or ziploc bag with end snipped off.
On a plate, place two discs of red beet. On top, two dollops of mousse, some baby arugula, and then two more beets. Top this with some of your vinaigrette, made with the vanilla and balsamic sauce, olive oil, salt pepper, and a small handful of pine nuts that have gone for a quick toast in a naked frying pan.
Spoon over top.
It is divine, cheap and easy.
Alternatives to vanilla and balsamic – sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, raspberry vinegar – I just like to use stuff I have in house, rather then buying something specifically for a dish.
And the goat cheese – it was leftover from a spinach and goat cheese salad at Chow Restaurant that I brought home with me. A little cheese goes a long way, especially when you’re only cooking for two.