|Warm goat cheese: crusty on the outside, creamy on the inside. A study in delicious contrast.|
Beets and goat cheese are a fantastic combination. Something about the earthy sweetness of roasted and lightly pickled beets pairs exceptionally well with creamy, crumbly chevre (which is the French word for goat, hence a general moniker for goat cheeses of all sorts). Young, unripened goat cheese in the French style is slightly tart, pleasantly acidic, and crumbles well for all sorts of salady applications. I like chevre over salads with a sweet element like plums, peaches, pears, very ripe tomatoes, and of course, beets.
Now when you crust the goat cheese with breadcrumbs and saute it you add even more flavors and textural components. The goat cheese softens and becomes quite luscious. The savory exterior becomes crunchy and toasty. When you put that over a slice of lightly pickled beet, you have something extraordinary.
You can add a salad of greens (arugula, watercress, and Belgian endive come to mind) if you wish, but for this particular presentation I keep it simple. A single large slice of lightly pickled beet, a disc of warm goat cheese, a simple vinaigrette, and a few leaves of fresh marjoram. That’s it. The results are delicious.
|Not just delicious but beautiful.|
I covered basic beet roasting and pickling in one of my very first posts. I’ve included the link below, so go there and follow the directions. Large beets will take about an hour or so to fully cook through.
For the warm goat cheese, choose a simple, young chevre, the kind that comes in little logs. Allow the cheese to sit out for about fifteen minutes, so that it becomes pliable. Form little cheese “burgers” about a half-inch in thickness and two inches in diameter. Put the cheese pucks in the fridge to firm up.
Put out three mixing bowls. Put some flour (maybe a half cup) in the first bowl. Put two eggs and a half cup of milk into the second bowl; beat eggs and milk very well. In the third bowl put a healthy amount of panko flakes (Japanese breadcrumbs, which are available everywhere). Season all three bowls with a little salt and pepper.
Crust the goat cheese pucks by putting them first in the flour. Make sure they are covered all over with a thin coating of flour. Now dip in the egg mixture and cover completely. Finally drop the cheese in the panko breadcrumbs and crust fully. I like to push the breadcrumbs gently into the cheese all over. Now chill the crusted pucks until you’re ready to saute.
To cook heat a non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and swirl around. Add the goat cheese pucks and crisp on one side until lightly browned, about two minutes. Flip and brown the other side.
To plate put a slice of pickled beet in the center of the plate. Top with goat cheese. Drizzle a little vinaigrette around the plate. Add a few leaves of fresh marjoram as a garnish. Serve immediately and eat it up!
In a mixing bowl put one tablespoon of djion mustard and on teaspoon honey. Add two tablespoons white wine vinegar, some cracked pepper, and salt. Using a whisk, combine together and pour a stream of olive oil through the wires of the whisk, whisking constantly. Add enough oil until the dressing is emulsified; you’ll need about a quarter cup of oil.
For tips on roasting and pickling beets, see this post.