Monday, September 26, 2016

Roast Beet, Chevre and Crostini Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette





     A Tasty Salad Entrée!
     There was a trendy restaurant in downtown Chicago that I decided to give a try for lunch.  The restaurant was famous for buffalo.  Oddly enough, the waitress stated that there was a nationwide shortage of buffalo, which amounted to just being a lame excuse.  I ended up ordering a roasted beet and goat cheese salad instead.  The salad sounded interesting, but after first being lied to by the waitress, I expected the worst was yet to come.  
     The roasted beet and goat cheese salad at the restaurant was not impressive.  It looked like a pile of lettuce with sliced beets on top, with blobs of goat cheese that was warmed in a microwave oven.  The salad was smothered with the same cheap manufactured balsamic vinaigrette that most chain restaurants use.  The strong flavor of the salad dressing was overbearing.      
     A few weeks later, I gave some thought to making a roasted beet and goat cheese salad that would be more appealing than the one that was served at the restaurant.  Improving the quality of the ingredients and choosing a lighter vinaigrette flavor was a good start.  Adding some crunchy texture and improving the salad presentation made a big difference too.  Overall, the improvements made the simple salad much better.       
 
     Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields about 1/2 cup.  (2 portions) 
     Pomegranate Vinegar is available at most grocery stores.
     Step 1:  Place 3 tablespoons of finely minced roasted red bell pepper in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 clove of minced garlic.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of Pomegranate Vinegar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and coarse ground black pepper.
     Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes, so the flavors meld.
     Step 2:  Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil while stirring with a whisk.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil while stirring.
     Set the vinaigrette aside or chill it for later use.
     *Be sure to stir the vinaigrette before serving.
 
     Roast Red Beet:
     One medium size red beet is needed per salad. 
     Step 1:  Place 1 unpeeled medium size red beet on a roasting pan.
     Place the pan in a 375ºF oven.
     Roast till the beet is tender.
     Step 2:  Cool the roasted beet under cold running water.
     Use a dry pastry towel to rubbing the skin off of the beet.
     Trim the top and the root end
     Step 3:  Cut the beet into 3 medallion slices that are about 1/4" thick.
     Set the roast beet aside or chill it for later use.
 
     Crostini:
     Three crostini are needed per salad.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 slices of baguette bread that are 1/4" thick.
     Brush the bread slices with olive oil.
     Step 2:  Place the bread slices on a baking pan.
     Place the pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Bake till the bread is crisp and light golden brown.
     Set the crostini aside.
 
     Salad Set-Up Plate:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place 2 1/4 cups of mixed baby lettuce in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 thin slices of sweet onion that are cut in half.
     Add 1/5 cup of thin bias sliced celery.
     Add a few match stick cut carrots for color.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Mound the salad across the middle of a plate.
     Garnish each side of the salad with:
     - 3 plum tomato slices
     - 2 artichoke halves
     Chill the salad set-up plate till it is needed.
 
     Roast Beet, Chevre and Crostini Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
     This recipe yields 1 salad entrée. 
     Chevre translates to cheese that is made with goat milk.  Fresh soft Chevre is best for this recipe.  Because Chevre is fat free, this cheese will only soften and it will not melt.
     Step 1:  Cut 3 soft fresh Chevre goat cheese into 1/4" thick medallion shapes that are almost the same size as the prepared roast beet slices.
     Place the 3 slices of Chevre on a non-stick pan.
     Heat the Chevre in a 300ºF oven till it just becomes warm and aromatic, but not too soft.
     Step 2:  Alternate the 3 slices of crostini, roast red beet and the warmed Chevre goat cheese slices across the top of the salad.
     *A cake spatula is best for transferring the warmed Chevre.
     Step 3:  Spoon about 3 1/2 tablespoons of the Roasted Red Pepper Pomegranate Vinaigrette over the salad.

     This is a nice healthy salad for the autumn and winter seasons!

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