Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon by Kathy Gunst


This is a dish that is so elegant looking that guests will think you spent the day in the kitchen. Yellow and red beets are roasted until tender, then sliced and layered with a chive-flavored Goat cheese. The whole dish can be made ahead of time, making it an ideal first course for any dinner party. It also makes a great lunch dish, served with crusty bread and an arugula salad.
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At a glance
Soft-Ripened Cheeses

* 1 1/2 pounds small red and yellow beets,
no larger than 1 to 1 1/2 inches across
* 6 ounces soft plain or
herb-flavored goat cheese,
* 1 tablespoon sour cream or heavy cream
* 1/4 packed cup finely chopped chives,
plus a few chives for garnish
* 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* Generous grinding black pepper
* About 1/4 cup good olive oil


* Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Place 4 beets on a large piece of foil and wrap tightly. (If the beets are big, wrap only two in each foil packet.) Repeat with the remaining beets. Roast for about 1 hour, or until tender. Beets can vary widely in cooking time. Small, fresh beets may be ready after only 45 minutes of roasting, while large, dense, not-quite-as-fresh beets can take up to 1 1/2 hours. To test, place a small, sharp knife in the center; the beet should feel soft and tender all the way through. Let cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Using your fingers or a small, sharp knife, peel off the beet skin and trim the ends. Thinly slice beets and set aside to cool completely.

* Meanwhile, place the goat cheese, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using the back of spoon or a rubber spatula, cream the cheese until soft and the chives are fully incorporated. (The beets, and cheese filling can be made a day ahead of time; cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.)

* To assemble, place a slice of red beet on a plate. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture on top and then top with a slice of yellow beet. Spread another 1/2 teaspoon of cheese on top and then top the cheese with a third slice of red beet. You can use any color combination you like: all yellow, all red, or alternating colors. You can also place a half teaspoon of the cheese filling on the top beet slice. Repeat to form remaining napoleons.

* Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil and a few chives for garnish on top.

* Makes about 14 napoleons; serves 4 or 5.

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