We celebrate Montana's beet harvest with a recipe that pairs the jewel-like root vegetable with a local goat cheese.
Montana grows a lot of beets; executive chef Josh Drage at The Ranch at Rock Creek pairs them with a wonderful local chèvre from Amaltheia Organic Dairy, which he blends into the vinaigrette, giving it a bit of body. The beets can be cooked off and chilled ahead of time. Just toss them in a bit of olive oil and white balsamic vinegar before storing them in the refrigerator.
Serves 4 – 6
6 medium to large beets
3 thyme sprigs
Sea salt to taste
Olive oil as needed
½ cup chèvre or other goat cheese
Fresh mint leaves to taste
cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 – 2 handfuls winter cress (you can subsitute arugula or watercress)
½ bunch parsley
Marcona almonds, for garnish
White anchovies, for garnish
For the roasted beets: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the ends of the beets, cleaning away any dirty parts. Place the beets on a long piece of aluminum foil, centering them on one half so the foil can be folded over and sealed. Halve the orange and lemon and place on the beets along with the fresh thyme. Season with sea salt and drizzle with olive oil. Fold the foil over the beets and seal the edges by crimping the sides. Roast for 1 hour. The foil will puff up with air, making a pillow shape. Remove from oven and let rest for 30 minutes without puncturing the foil.
For the vinaigrette: In a blender, add the goat cheese, mint, and white balsamic vinegar. Turn blender on and drizzle the oil through the top until fully incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble: Remove the beets from the foil and trim off the skin with a paring knife. Quarter the beets and set aside. Slice the kumquat, removing any seeds. Place a small puddle of the vinaigrette on each plate and build the salad on top, starting with the beets and layering some of the parsley and winter cress leaves on top. Garnish with the sliced kumquat, Marcona almonds, and white anchovies.
From the October 2015 issue.