Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beet and goat cheese mousse salad

Here is the casual cousin of the more formal beet and goat cheese stacked Napoleans. Beets are so earthy, and combining them with a goat or blue cheese is the way that I like them best. Here, I whizzed the honey and thyme infused roasted beets with goat cheese, cream cheese, and lemon thyme, then molded it. I plated the mousse onto a bed of arugula, baby Romaine lettuce leaves and various pink flower petals from the garden. Looks ravishing and tastes sublime.  The beet mousse recipe has all the flavors of this classic stacked Napolean beet and goat cheese salad. 

Roast the beets
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Scrub three medium beet roots. Coat beets lightly with oil. Wrap beets in aluminum foil and a dollop of honey and three lemon thyme sprigs before sealing. Place foil packs on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until cooked through—45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 15 minutes before opening foil packs, then open packs and let beets cool for 10 minutes more before handling. They can get hot.

Make the mouse
Toughly chop and place the 3 beets into a food processor with 2/3 cup goat cheese and 1/3 cup cream cheese. The measurements can vary, this recipe does not have to be precise. Add in the leaves from 1 fresh lemon thyme sprig, juice of 1/4 orange, 1 tsp. honey, and salt and pepper. Wiz until smooth and creamy but still somewhat thick. Taste and adjust to your liking. Place mixture into molds of your choice lined with oil and plastic wrap for easy removal. A custard cup is a nice size—about 1/4 cup each. Chill for 3-4 hours or overnight. 

French vinaigrette dressing

2 tbsp. champagne vinegar
4 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. minced shallots
Salt and pepper

Shake like mad in a lidded mason jar until emulsified.

Assemble the salad
Unmold the beet and goat cheese mousse onto your salad of your choice (I like arugula or baby romaine leaf mixture). Dress and garnish as you wish. I used a simple French vinaigrette and then placed on flowers from the garden. You can also roast 1-2 extra beets and serve slices of the beets on top of this this salad, or serve shaved raw beet slices. Makes about 4-6 servings, depending on your mold size and fullness.

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