Saturday, August 16, 2014

baby beets, grilled romaine, and warm goat cheese croutons

This dish was assembled from experiences during my week: I found baby beets at the Durham

Farmer's Market and I had a Caesar Salad with grilled Romaine lettuce at a restaurant. The goat cheese was a memory from my days at the Red Lion Inn that came back as I tried to figure out what to do for dinner.
romaine lettuce, heads cut in half longways
beets (I had little ones; any will do)
goat cheese
2 eggs
1 cup milk or buttermilk
Ritz crackers crumbs (use food processor)
Cut the goat cheese into one ounce slices (I use a piece of fishing line to cut them) and then roll each slice into a ball and then flatten the ball into a disc that looks like a marble with flat sides. Dredge the little discs in the flour and then drop them into the milk and egg mixture and then into the cracker crumbs. Place them on a cookie sheet or plate lined with wax paper or parchment and then put them in the freezer for at least two hours. When you are ready to serve, heat about a third of an inch of olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the croutons for about a minute a side, until they are browned. Drain and add to the salad. Basically, start with the croutons and end with them in your preparation.

Rinse the beets well and then cover them in a saucepan with water. I added two cinnamon sticks, a bay leaf, some peppercorns, and some dried lemongrass. You could also add a
cut up lemon or orange for a little flavor. Bring them to a boil and let them cook for about an hour. Drain them, peel them, let them cool, halve them, and then toss them in a little lemon juice and olive oil.

I used a grill pan on my stovetop for the lettuce. I got the pan hot, brushed the cut side of the lettuce with olive oil, and set it on the grill for about three minutes: until I could see the grill marks. I did not turn them over; I only grilled one side and then set them aside as I did the rest. The lettuce does not have to be warm when you serve it.