Beef carpaccio is one of my all-time favorite appetizers. There’s a restaurant in St. Louis that serves the tender, uncooked, super-thinly sliced beef with field greens, capers, aioli and Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. I became obsessed with it when we lived there, and whenever we visit I try to get my fix. Inspired by the variety of beets at our farmers’ market a few weeks ago, I decided to use the carpaccio style to show off the gorgeous jewel-tones of my beets. Success! The key is to use a mandoline to achieve the paper-thin slices. Topped with arugula, walnuts and a goat cheese pesto, it’s a simple but beautiful appetizer to brighten up any winter day.
3 large beets (use a variety of golden, red and Chioggia for color)
1.5 ounces of goat cheese, room temp
3 teaspoons yogurt
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 cup arugula
Handful of walnuts, chopped
Hazelnut oil or good quality olive oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. On a large sheet of foil, toss the washed and scrubbed beets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets in the foil and bake for about an hour, until tender when pierced but still somewhat firm (overcooking will make the beets hard to thinly slice). Let the beets cool slightly, then peel them, gently rubbing their skin off with a paper towel. Place beets in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator at least one hour. In a small food processor or blender, combine the goat cheese, yogurt, oil, pine nuts and parsley. Blend to mix thoroughly, adding extra oil or a bit of water to help thin the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, toss the arugula with a drizzle of hazlenut oil. Using a mandoline, thinly slice the chilled beets and arrange on one large plate. Mound the arugula on the center and garnish with the chopped walnuts and goat cheese pesto. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.