Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Roasted Fresh Beet, Chevre Goat Cheese and Crostini Salad with Sweet Red Pepper Vinaegrette

     I had a salad that was similar to this salad at a restaurant called "Wilde" in Chicago as an appetizer a few days ago.  The restaurant's roasted beet and chevre cheese salad was rather disappointing!  It sounded interesting on the menu but the presentation was of very poor quality.  The dressing on the salad was a strong balsamic vinaegrette and it over powered all the other flavors on the plate.  The chevre cheese was heated and blobbed onto the beets.  The beets were not roasted, like the menu stated they were. The presentation of the restaurant's salad looked like it was made by a unskilled kitchen helper.  
     I thought I would try to improve the restaurants salad to my liking in this recipe.  My presentation and choice of dressing was a very nice improvement over the restaurant's dissapointing recipe. 
     Recipe:  Oven roast an unpeeled beet in a 375 degree oven till it is cooked al dente.  Cool the roasted beet under cold running water.  Wipe the skin off of the roasted beet by rubbing with a dry towel.  Slice the beet into medallion shapes. 
     Toss mixed lettuce, onion slices, match stick cut carrots, sliced celery together.  Center the salad across the plate. 
     Garnish each side of the salad with plum tomato slices and artichoke halves. 
     Toast some thin sliced Italian bread that is brushed with olive oil in a 350 degree oven.
     Cut a few chevre fresh goat cheese slices.  Set then on a non stick pan.  Heat the chevre in a 350 degree oven till it just becomes warm and aromatic. 
     Alternate the crostini, the roasted beet slices and the warmed Chevre goat cheese across the top of the greens. 
     Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Vinaegrette Recipe:  Mix a little bit of very fine chopped roasted sweet red bell pepper, a clove of chopped garlic, a splash of pomegranate vinegar, a splash of virgin olive oil, sea salt and coarse black pepper together to make the vinaegrette. 
     Spoon the vinaegrette over and around the salad. 
     The fresh roasted beets are so nice with the sharp flavored fresh chevre cheese!  The crostini adds some crunch.  The roasted red bell pepper vinaegrette dressing is perfect for this dish and the flavor is not overbearing.  A balsamic vinegrette would over power and ruin the delicate flavors of this salad.  A lighter flavored dressing was what this salad needed!  This is some fine healthy cooking! 
     Never be afraid to seriously criticize a meal that you buy at a restaurant.  Bad "word of mouth" does cause poorly managed restaurants to improve or perish.  Making a recipe better than the meal that a restaurant's cook made is fun and challenging too.   ... Shawna

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