Three-Beet Caviar with Endive and Goat Cheese

26 10 2009

As the chef prepares for a two week vacation, the sous chef inherits more leftovers to eat while he is away – and does a little more cooking while he downloads games for his phone to keep him from going all Peter Buck on the flight. Tonight he was quite ready to eat leftovers from last week, but I – ever the planner – reasoned it out. Tonight we actually had a little time to cook – whereas tomorrow I work late, Wednesday he has class late, and Friday he’s leaving earlier rather than later for the airport. Larger meal for Thursday, easy meal for tonight: beet salad.

The fancier name is Three-Beet Caviar with Endive and Goat Cheese, and tonight it was an experiment in making-it-up-as-you-go-along.

The beet varieties, chopped!

The recipe called for three different beets: Red, Golden, and Chioggia (which is a pink and white concentric-circle-striped beet). When we were browsing the market, I was initially concerned that we wouldn’t find beets individually – only in bundles of a zillion extra beets we didn’t need. Thankfully, that was not the case. We picked up one large red and one large chioggia, and two small goldens. (The recipe called for six beets but we weren’t feeding an army!)

Fresh goat cheese! Mmmmmmm...

We LOVE the goat cheese from Port Madison Farm; of course we went straight there once we decided to go for this recipe. It comes in these awesome fat little cheese pucks – which doesn’t sound appetizing BUT IT IS, I promise you. I could eat it like a dinner roll.

The hardest part was steaming the beets: should I steam them all? How long will it take? Are they done yet? Am I overcooking them? Are the red beets staining the rest of the beets? Etc, etc. After they’re steamed, I peeled off the skin just like I learned to peel potatoes at my first job in a restaurant when I was, like, 16. Chop into small pieces!

This is where some of the substitution comes in. The recipe says to toss 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar with a finely diced red onion. We had: pear infused balsamic vinegar, two green onions and two tiny scallions. So I figured, hey what the hell, these should work! Then, you toss each bowl of beets with 1/3rd of this mixture, taste for salt & pepper, then toss again with 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or chervil. Had no parsley, had no idea what chervil even IS – left it out entirely. (The chef suggested replacing the parsley with oregano, but I was skeptical and chose to overrule this suggestion.)

"Okay now let's make some pretty piles."

So you make pretty piles! 3 beet varieties, one pile of chopped endive (we had both green and red endives, to further maximize the color variety in this meal), and one pile of tasty, tasty goat cheese. Drizzle the cheese and endive with olive oil, pepper, and SERVE!

The truth: cooking is messy.

All the pictures that end up this blog are usually very gorgeous and the clutter has all been moved somewhere else. TRUTH: COOKING IS MESSY! Especially in a tiny kitchen. It’s okay, everyone, I promise total messes are TOTALLY NORMAL.

Once you’ve taken a sufficient amount of pictures, you’ve given your beets sufficient time to cool! Theoretically you are supposed too chill this dish and eat it cold, but I was having NONE of that. Serve it pretty, eat it messy: mix your piles together into a tasty, red pile of delicious:

Beet salad, mixed.

One of my main fears with this dish was that I had added too much vinegar. In fact, a short story: I kept getting Easter flashbacks, because the smell of the vinegar coupled with the dark red beet juice everywhere was triggering memories of dying Easter eggs. However, my fears proved unnecessary. This dish is AWESOME.

Not too vinegary, not too oniony. Each beet variety has a distinct flavor: the golden is the richest, the red is the sweetest. The endive lends a refreshing crunch and the goat cheese is the zinger! Dudes, this one is awesome, no joke. Not hard either! I mean, here’s the thing: I MADE IT MYSELF! Yes, the chef was in the vicinity and I asked him a bunch of questions. But I probably could even have done it without him around! And that, my friends, is the true test of an easy recipe.

Sous chef OUT!




One response

27 10 2009

I’ll second the cooking is messy part of the post. My kitchen is TINY and is usually fairly cluttered before we even start. And truthfully I do move it all so the pictures are pretty but in the end it is totally worth it.
– The Chef

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