Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleons
These elegant appetizers come from Wolfgang Puck's Los Angeles restaurant Spago.
Yield: serves 4
- 5 large red beets, roasted, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1⁄4"-thick slices
- 1 cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 9 oz. goat cheese, softened
- 4 tsp. minced fresh chives
- 4 tsp. minced fresh parsley
- 2 1⁄2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄4 tsp. orange zest
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp. hazelnut oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 3 tbsp. chopped hazelnuts
- Using a 2 5⁄8" round cookie cutter, cut out 20 of the beet slices; reserve scraps for another use (like borscht or a salad). In a 12" skillet, bring rice vinegar and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and, working in batches, cook beet slices, turning once, about 2 minutes. Transfer slices to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Pat dry and let chill.
- Stir goat cheese together with the chives, parsley, 2 tsp. thyme, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Bring orange juice to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until reduced to 1⁄3 cup, 4-5 minutes. Let cool. Transfer juice to a bowl along with remaining thyme, balsamic vinegar, zest, and shallots. While whisking, drizzle in olive oil and hazelnut oil; whisk until smooth. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper; let chill.
- To serve: Put 1 beet slice on work surface; spread about 1 tbsp. cheese mixture over beet. Top cheese with another beet slice, pressing down so cheese oozes to edge. Repeat to create a stack with 4 layers of cheese between 5 beet slices. Make 4 stacks in all. Slice each stack into 4 wedges; transfer to 4 plates. Drizzle vinaigrette over each plate; garnish with nuts. Serve with mixed greens, if you like.