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Roasted Beet Napolean
Note: Recipes for Spago House Dressing and Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette also included
From "Wolfgang Puck's Pizza, Pasta and More!" (Random House)
This stacked salad has become a standard at Spago. Rounds of brilliant red beets layered with slices of white goat cheese make up one of the most striking and elegant appetizers we serve. The earthy beets and pungent cheese ask for just a drizzle of house dressing and and a sprinkle of toasted nuts. Add some green for some color, or serve it without. Easy to make, this is the appetizer for impressing your friends.
Try to purchase beets that are all about the same size. To save time, roast and chill the beets beforehand.
1. Roast beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the beets in a small roasting pan and pour enough cold water to reach about one quarter 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.
2. Cut each beet into 1/4 inch-thick round slices. Cut each slice with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. (You will need ten rounds) Cut trimmings into 1/4-inch dice and reserve 1/2 cup for garnish.
3. In a saute pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Lower to a simmer and poach beets one minute on each side. With a slotted spatula, remove and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
4. 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 to warm both sides. This has to be done quickly or the cheese will melt.
5. To assemble the Napoleons: Place one 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 five layers of beets and four layers of cheese) Carefully cut through the layers, dividing into three wedges. Repeat with the remaining beets and cheese.
6. To serve: arrange three of the wedges, pointed ends facing out, in a circle in the center of each plate. Toss the baby lettuces with the House Spago Dressing and mound half of the lettuces on top of each arranged napoleon. Drizzle one half of the citrus hazelnut vinaigrette around each mound. Sprinkle toasted nuts and reserved diced beets on top of drizzled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
To prepare ahead: Through step 3, up to one day ahead.
Spago House Dressing
Makes 1 cup
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic and sherry wine vinegars, the Dijon mustard, minced thyme, and the minced shallot. Slowly whisk in the oils and when emulsified, season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container.
2. When ready to use, whisk again.
To prepare ahead: Through step 1, the dressing will keep 3 to 4 weeks.
Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1. In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice to a boil. Lower to a simer and reduce until only 1/3 cup remains. Cool to room temperature.
2. In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, shallots, thyme, vinegar, and orange zest.
3. Slowly whisk in both oils until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
To prepare ahead: The vinaigrette will keep up to 1 week, refrigerated, in a covered container.
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