Today I am going to give you a recipe for a marinated beet and goat cheese appetizer. Hopefully you enjoyed the Farmers Market on Third and Curry Streets. They done for the season now, but keep them in mind next year. It's a fun experience not only for shopping but for the entire family to enjoy the event on the Curry Street Promenade. They have bounce houses, face painting, gardening tips, bike rentals, live performances from various troupes involved with the Brewery Arts Center and some of the greatest produce and food items that you can find that compare favorably with some of the best markets anywhere. Kudos to Linda, Tammy, John and all of the participants - too many to name.
Anyhow, wandering through the market I was thinking that it would be great to put together a recipe using items to be found from the vendors at the market. Low and behold I saw great beets about the size of a baseball and started thinking what can be done with them other than making a soup or salad. So at home Karen and I prepared an appetizer platter of chilled beets sliced and topped with goat cheese, brie, sliced peaches and crab salad. It was a wonderful appetizer platter.
Cooking the beets can be challenging because of the red dye that comes when they are cooked. When handling them use a pair of rubber gloves. To prepare the beets wash them thoroughly then cut off the greens and peel them like you would a potato. For this recipe you will need three or four large beets, the larger the better. Small ones the size of golf balls or smaller are hard to do the presentation properly so you need beets golf ball size and up. About two to three inches in diameter.
Beet Canape with goat cheese and pecan compote
3 to 4 large beets, washed, peeled - set aside
water to cover
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
fresh ground pepper
1 cup goat cheese (or shredded goat-brie cheese)
1 scallion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon bread crumbs (sourdough or panko)
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
(toast pecans about 20 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven; allow to cool before chopping)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
Put water and next four ingredients in a four-quart pan and bring to a boil. Add beets and boil for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. To test doneness remove a beet and prick with a fork. You should be able to easily penetrate the beet by about one inch. Do not over cook the beets. When done place the beets in a bowl of ice water and chill completely. I like to let them sit for one day and then work with them but usually one hour is sufficient.
Now comes the tricky part. Place the beets on a cutting board and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place on paper towels and lightly salt and pepper. Drain for 30 minutes then place in a mixing bowl with the olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss gently to mix and place on cookie sheets and refrigerate.
You will need a good goat cheese either chevre style or Trader Joe's has a nice goat-brie cheese. I like the crumbly chevre style cheese with the beets. If you use the goat-brie you will need to shred it. The best way to do this is to put the cheese in the freezer for one hour only and remove and shred in a food processor.
In a small bowl mix the cheese and scallion, olive oil, bread crumbs, pecans and basil together. Be sure to mix well. This mixture should be enough for a dozen beet rounds. Roll the mixture into little balls the size of a marble. Place on each beet round. For a finishing touch peel and thinly slice a ripe but firm peach and place a slice on the cheese mixture. If you like you can sprinkle with more pecans and a couple twists of fresh ground pepper.
Dungeness crab and cabbage slaw
For the crab salad you will need:
1 pound Dungeness crabmeat or Maryland Lump crabmeat
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 stock celery, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly shaved red cabbage
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and lightly toss. Place in the middle of your platter and arrange the appetizers around it.
Get ready for a gastronomic adventure.
When serving this dish I recommend you serve the Chateau St. Michelle Washington Dry Riesling. It is an absolutely fabulous wine crafted for this dish. Talk to our friends at Ben's Liquor, Aloha Wine and Spirits, Divine Wine and Carson's new addition Bella Fiore Wines.
As always enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
• Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele's. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.