As promised I will be posting details of the dishes I prepared for a five course dinner last weekend. So, let's start with the first course, shall we? Inspired by a classic caprese salad I created a roasted beet salad with fresh chèvre, balsamic vinegar and basil oil. I was dying to use some of the plethora of beets I have maturing in my garden right now. This turned out better than I anticipated.
The beet preparation could not be simpler. I love roasted beets and they are so easy to do. I just take them from the garden, trim the roots and stalks, and tightly wrap them individually in foil. No need to skin them. They were placed on a sheet and roasted in a 425 °F oven for about an hour. Once cooled the skins will slip right off. I used three kinds of beets. One is a yellow beet called 'Touchstone Gold'. I also have a 'Chiogga' beet which has red and white stripes inside. These two beets are tasy and the colors hardly bleed. Unlike the purple beet, 'Red Ace', which will stain anything it touches. Personally I like the sweetness of the yellow beets the best but the purple ones have the most classic beet flavor. On top of the beets was placed some fresh goat cheese. A bit of balsamic vinegar was poured in the middle and the plate was garnished basil oil.
Basil oil is so easy to make. I took about a half cup of tightly packed basil leaves and 1 cup of good olive oil in a food processer and processed it briefly to chop up the basil. This was placed in a pan and heated for about 5 minute to infuse the oil with the flavor. Careful not to cook it. I heated it until the traces of water started sizzling and bubbling.
The oil was poured through a strainer and cooled. The result is a deep green colored oil with tons of basil flavor.
Next up - linguini carbonara. Stay tuned.
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