Roasted Baby Beet Salad

Raphael chef Adam Horton shares his recipe
560
 
The beet and goat cheese salad has become synonymous with the SoCal food scene and, let’s face it, a little predictable. Adam Horton, formerly of Saddle Peak Lodge and now the shiny-new chef at the revamped Raphael in Studio City, has revived this new classic by using downright adorable baby beets and getting a little chem-lab on us with a pumpkin seed powder. (Ooooh, ahhh.) The result celebrates what made this sweet-and-tangy combo so popular in the first place—with a little extra sparkle.
Ingredients:
4 bunches of baby beets (mixed colors, like chiogga, red and gold)
2 sprigs chervil
3 sprigs tarragon
1 bunch watercress (stems intact)
2 tangerines
4 ounces California goat cheese (like Cypress Grove chevre)
Good quality olive oil (like Terre Bormaine Riviera Ligure)
1 ounce roasted pumpkin seed oil
1 ounce tapioca maltodextrin (can be found online via. Le-sanctuaire.com or willpowder.com)
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.    For the beets: Remove leafy tops, wash beets, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, and place in a shallow casserole dish with 3 ounces of water. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender. You want to be careful not to overcook the beets or the tails will fall off when you are peeling them. Remove the beets from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Once at room temperature (I suggest wearing gloves so you don’t get purple hands), use a kitchen towel to rub off the skin of the beets, taking care not to break the tails for a more dramatic presentation. Cut the bottoms where the leafy tops were to allow beets to stand on end. Reserve the liquid from the bottom of the pan for the vinaigrette.

3.    For the herbs: tarragon, chervil and watercress. Pick the leaves from the tarragon and chervil and cut the watercress at the lowest point on the stem. Place in ice water for 2 minutes, then remove, dry and wrap in a damp paper towel, keeping them cool in the refrigerator until serving. Can be chilled up to (but not more than) an hour before serving.

4.    For the goat cheese: Remove from the package and crumble. Set aside.

5.    For the pumpkin seed powder: Weigh 1 ounce of tapioca maltodextrin and 1 ounce of pumpkin seed oil.  Place tapioca in a food processor and drizzle in pumpkin seed oil. The finished result should look dry, not clumpy. If it looks too wet (like wet sand) add more tapioca, if it looks too powdery without any green hue, add a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil. For a finer powder pass through a sieve.

6.    For the tangerines: Cut skin off and slice segments away from membranes. Squeeze the remaining membrane for juice and reserve for vinaigrette.

7.
    For the vinaigrette: Mix equal parts of reserved cooking liquid and tangerine juice (2 ounces of each) whisk in 2.5 ounces of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

8.    To assemble: Toss beets in vinaigrette, place beets with the root tips facing upwards on a plate in a random scattered pattern, in between the beets crumble goat cheese, place tangerine segments in a random pattern. Place tarragon leaves on each beet tail to give a “floating effect.” Lay the watercress against the beets stem up, lay the leaves of the chervil in between the beets on the plate. To finish, spoon pumpkin seed powder between the layers of beets, cheese and tangerines.

 
Serves 4.