I love cool foods in the summer. Conch ceviche, shrimp, salads, and now this gorgeous beet and goat cheese stack.
There was this one time, I was in Key West, actually it was only three months ago. I was in Key West and believe it or not, I had no idea where to go eat for dinner. I had been to every place (or so I thought) and just didn’t really have a feel for anything. Doesn’t sound like a problem that garners a lot of sympathy, I know.
So here I was hungry and hot, because Key West is hot y’all. Then it occurred to me to call my trusty friend Jerry. He visits Key West often and he loves good food so I knew he would lead me in the right direction. And he did. Boy did he ever. He referred me and the wife to Cafe´ Sole´. If you’re ever in Key West, you must go. Repeatedly.
I had seen this place a million times before. And to be quite honest, it doesn’t look like much. It doesn’t even really look like a restaurant. We were seated outside on this tiny little patio. Remember I said it was hot? But it wasn’t so bad. The evening was beautiful. Menu came and we ordered this beet salad Napoleon. We had no idea what we were getting really. We just knew it was not going to be fried thus and such.
It was a cold “salad” with goat cheese, drizzled with a vinaigrette and truffle oil. We were thinking, salad. Like with greens. No, what came out was this beautiful jewel stuffed with goat cheese. Ahhhh! It was pure goodness in my mouth and I knew I would be making it this summer.
I’ve been thinking on this and looking at some recipes for this, but I don’t have truffle oil. I’m not buying truffle oil for this one thing. I wanted something a little less….less….fussy?
What I did have was goat cheese, I buy it at Costco and I almost always have it in my fridge or freezer. Check. I also had lemon curd. Check. My wife grows herbs, including lemon thyme and lemon balm. Check. And citrus rice vinegar, because we like to have it with cucumbers. Check. I had a citrusy/lemony feeling coming on, which goes great with goat cheese and beets.
And it worked! It doesn’t take that much effort and it’s freaking beautiful! Put this on a bed of wild greens, or a spring mix, and you have yourself something impressive.
Oh, and if you don’t like beets, give this a try. Those little globes are not just veggies covered in dirt, they are jewels of loveliness.
BEET SALAD NAPOLEON
3-4 beets, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
5 ounces goat cheese
1 slightly heaping teaspoon of lemon curd
1 cup sugar
1 cup rice vinegar
chopped fresh herbs, I used what I grow, lemon thyme, lemon balm, oregano, and parsley for good measure
lemon zest, optional for garnish
arugula for garnish
crumbled goat cheese for garnish
Let the goat cheese come to room temperature.
In a pan, bring rice vinegar and sugar to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the beet slices, cooking about 5 minutes on each side or until tender. You will probably have to do this in batches. Remove them from the pan onto a paper towel lined plate and pat dry. Chill the beets. Save the vinegar and sugar mixture.
Mix together goat cheese, herbs, and lemon curd. Chill that.
To assemble, take one beet slice, spread some goat cheese on it, then another and stack on top, repeat until you get the height you want. Drizzle a little of the rice vinegar and sugar mixture on top. Top with crumbled goat cheese and lemon zest if using.
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS – TIME SAVER
If you want to save a little time with the beets, you can toss them in your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Cut off the greens and wash the beets. Place a cup of water in bottom of the pot, place the trivet and place the beets on top. Pressure on high for 16 minutes. If the beets are REALLY large pressure for 18 minutes. Quick release.
About the time the beets are close to done, go ahead and bring the rice wine vinegar and sugar to a boil, just as above. When cool enough to handle, the beet skins should come off very easily. Slice them when cool enough and coat them in the rice wine vinegar mixture. Proceed as above.
**NOTE: You can always slice the beets up and roast them. Toss them with oil and balsamic vinegar.
I have not tested this, but I’m sure I will – if you don’t have lemon curd but have orange marmalade, or pineapple preserves, I bet they would go perfectly in the goat cheese. Come to think of it, I bet a tad of raspberry or fig preserves would work splendidly too! And one more thing, if I had some pistachios hanging around (and let’s face it, who does?) I would have topped the stacks with them.
And truly, if you ever get the chance to get to Cafe´ Sole´ doooo it! After that first night we went back again. The hogfish there is the most delectable fish I have ever eaten and the conch carpaccio was heavenly.Beet Salad Napoleon or Beet and Goat Cheese Stack...either way you say it, it's delicious and beautiful!Click To Tweet