Beet Carpaccio with Goat Cheese and Watercress
Carpaccio (karˈpattʃo) has traditionally been associated with paper-thin slices of beef, a popular Italian appetizer since the 1950’s. Invented by Giuseppe Cipriani from Harry’s Bar in Venice, the beef is served with lemon, olive oil, capers, salt and pepper, and shaved Parmesan. In recent years, other thinly sliced raw meats, fish, and vegetables have acquired the term Carpaccio. Beets are no exception. Beet Carpaccio is found on the menus of many trendy restaurants across the country. I think it is one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to enjoy the plentiful beets in our farmers’ markets at this time of year. Any type of beet will do, from golden to ruby red to pink-and-white stripe.
Assorted beets of any variety
Favorite Vinaigrette (flavor affinities include citrus or wine vinegars, olive or walnut oil, shallots, honey)
Choice of cheese (goat, blue, ricotta salata), optional
Choice of nuts (walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts), optional
Greens (endives and watercress work well)
- Preheat oven to 350º. Place beets on a baking sheet, lined with foil. Sprinkle beets lightly with water and cover them tightly with foil. Bake until tender when pierced, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly, then trim both ends of the beets and rub off the skins with your fingers. Note: If using both light- and dark-colored beets, bake them on different pans to prevent discoloration. The beets may be kept cool in the refrigerator for two days; bring to room temperature before serving.
- Slice the beets as thinly as possible. I like to use a mandoline, but a sharp knife will do. Arrange the beets on a platter or individual salad plates.
- This step is where you may go wild with creativity (see suggestions). Sprinkle the beets with cheese, herbs, salt and pepper, and drizzle with any light vinaigrette. Delicious served with toasted baguette.
- Pictured: Beets and Watercress (dressed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and orange zest) topped with Baked Goat Cheese (rounds of goat cheese, coated in olive oil and thyme, rolled in breadcrumbs and baked for 10 minutes at 400 degrees) and sprinkled with toasted walnuts.
- Crumbled Goat Cheese and Mint Vinaigrette (2Tbl. minced shallot, 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar, 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint, ¼ cup walnut oil, 1 ½ teaspoons sugar); add a sprinkling of fresh chives to finish it off.
- Marinate beets in red wine vinegar, shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper overnight, then top with Gorgonzola and hazelnuts.