This is a way to turn a humble, inexpensive root vegetable into a stylish first course. At first glance, the thinly sliced red beets look almost like the classic beef carpaccio, named for the artist whose roseate sunsets resemble the colors of raw beef and thus inspired the name.
Roasting the beets brings out their natural sweetness and intensifies their flavor. The beets can be roasted, sliced, pre-plated and kept in the refrigerator. They should be garnished and dressed just before serving. The extravagant garnishes of vodka aspic and caviar are completely optional.
For the Beets:
8 medium beets, unpeeled
4 baby yellow beets, unpeeled
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 sprigs rosemary
6 sprigs thyme
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse the beets in cold water. In a baking dish large enough to hold the beets in a single layer, toss the beets with the olive oil, vinegar, rosemary and thyme.
- Cover the dish with foil and roast the beets for 40 to 50 minutes or until the baby yellow beets are tender when pierced with the sharp point of a paring knife. Remove the baby yellow beets and continue to roast the red beets for an additional 25 minutes or until tender.
To make the Orange Vinaigrette:
1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
½ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup walnut oil
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large stainless steel bowl. Transfer to a jar with a tight fitting lid. The vinaigrette can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Shake well or whisk thoroughly before serving.
To make the Vodka Aspic:
1 cup citron-flavored vodka
¼ cup pectin
- In a small saucepan, bring the vodka to a boil over medium heat, being careful not to ignite it.
- Whisk in the pectin and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute.
- Pour the mixture into a pie pan or a small, shallow container so that the liquid is about ½ inch deep.
- Refrigerate the mixture overnight, or until it has jelled completely. Cut the aspic into cubes.
¼ cup crème fraîche
1 ounce osetra caviar (optional)
Chervil or mint sprigs
- When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them with a small paring knife. Cut the baby yellow beets into wedges.
- Using a mandolin (an adjustable slicer with a sharp blade), slice the red beets 1/8 inch thick and arrange them in overlapping concentric circles on each plate.
- Place an oval dollop of crème fraîche on the beets and a smaller dollop of caviar (if desired) on top of the crème fraîche.
- Garnish each plate with a few wedges of yellow beets, orange zest and chervil sprigs. Splash the Orange Vinaigrette over the beets.