I recently went to a lovely business party hosted by Aviation Management Systems. They had me provide cookies as a goody bag to take home at the end of the evening. Happily, my cookies were a big hit. The next day, I even got a few texts from happy attendees that ate my cookies for breakfast.
The food highlight of the evening for me, however, was the happy hour held at the 100 Club. Every appetizer I sampled was a delight. Mini Monet Cristo sandwiches with maple syrup, lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce, caprese salad bites, braised beef crostini and my personal favorite, roasted beets with goat cheese and walnuts. I knew I had to go home and remake it.
Since I have a terrible sweet tooth, I did alter their appetizer slightly and candied the walnuts. I like the sweetness and the crunch; the cayenne adds a lovely spicy contrast. If you are hosting a party and want to serve an unforgettable appetizer, please give these a whirl!
2 medium beets, sliced into 1/8 inch disks
8 ounces goat cheese
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely minced
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a mandolin, carefully slice your beets. Toss them in olive oil so they are thoroughly coated. Lay them in a single layer on the lined baking tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the beets are wonderfully crispy and browned. Cook on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, mix together the goat cheese and heavy cream until smooth. Adjust for seasoning. Set aside.
Put a large pan over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar liquifies and becomes a light amber color, about 5 minutes. Swirl the sugar; do not stir! Add the walnuts and toss in the pan to evenly coat them in the caramel. Pour the walnuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool completely. Break apart the walnuts when hardened.
Meanwhile, mix together 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the rosemary. Add the cayenne to taste. Mix well.
To assemble, spoon a 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese onto each beet. Top with a candied walnut. Drizzle over a little rosemary olive oil and enjoy!