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Baby Greens with Roasted Beets and Warm Goat Cheese Tarts

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A young, firm goat cheese turns soft and creamy when warmed briefly in the oven. Spread the softened cheese on crisp toast and serve with a salad-here, a green salad with wedges of roasted beets. This dish would be a first course in my house, served with a California Sauvignon Blanc or French Pouilly-Fume. On another occasion, serve the goat cheese toasts on their own to accompany apéritifs.

NotesIf you buy beets with greens attached, save the beet greens for a cooked salad the following day.

Serves4

Cooking Methodbaking, broiling

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party

Recipe Courseappetizer, hors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentbaking/gratin dish

Mealbrunch, dinner

Taste and Texturecheesy, creamy, crunchy, savory, sweet, tangy

Type of Dishfirst course salad

Ingredients

  • 8 small or 4 medium beets, preferably an assortment of golden beets and red beets
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 French-style baguette
  • ¼ pound fresh goat cheese without rind, in one piece
  • 8 ounces baby lettuce greens

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the beet greens, if attached, leaving 1 inch of stem to avoid piercing the skin. Put the beets in a baking dish (use separate dishes for red and golden beets as red beets “bleed”). Add ¼ inch of water, cover, and bake until the beets are tender when pierced, 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on size. Add more water if the beets threaten to cook dry. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into wedges.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the walnut oil, the sherry vinegar, the shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the shallot flavor to mellow. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

  3. Preheat the broiler. With a serrated knife, slice the baguette on a sharp diagonal to make 4 dramatic slices about 7 inches long and ¼ inch thick. (You will have leftover bread.) Using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, brush the slices lightly on both sides. Put on a baking sheet and broil on both sides until lightly browned.

  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Put the goat cheese in a lightly oiled baking dish and top with the 1 teaspoon olive oil.

  5. Bake until cheese is soft and warm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes.

  6. While the cheese bakes, toss the salad greens with enough of the dressing to coat them lightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and arrange on 4 plates. Toss the beets with some of the dressing and season with salt. (Toss red and golden beets separately.) Scatter the beets over the greens.

  7. Divide the warm cheese among the 4 toasts, spreading it evenly. Garnish each salad with a cheese-topped toast.

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