About a year ago some friends and I were having dinner at a place in Cabo, and my wife and friend Ryan Jaffe ordered a beet salad. My first response was “Yuck”.
He replied “What? I love beet salads.”
I looked at him for a few minutes then said “You are disgusting.”
When they brought it out, he made me try it. It was either I try it or I was going to get red beets all over my face. So I did what I would have if I was two years old and I opened my trap up. I couldn’t believe how good it was. I tried picking the salad apart to visually inspect what they did, but it was so dark none of us could see anything. We had one candle 15 feet away, so we could barely see our own forks. I had to reconstruct this dish by taste and memory from 6 months ago. I spent some time at the Hunting Chef Laboratory on research and design and I think we have a better dish than I had in Cabo.
Ingredients for 4:
First thing you are going to need is a good mixer, mandolin, “stuffing gun”, circular form, and some patience. It takes some time, but not as much as you would think. Your efforts will be well worth it.
Take 1/4 cup of pistachios and 1/4 cup of virgin oil, and roast the nuts in the oil in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown. Then remove them to your mixer/blender and finely mix until smooth. Congratulations, you have successfully made pistachio oil. Set aside, you will use this later on your final step.
Chop the beats into nice little tidbits.
Get the Mandolin out from closet your mom bought you for Christmas a few years ago when you told her you were taking up cooking. If you do not have a mom or the mandolin she bought you use the a knife.
Finely slice the radishes. Be careful of your fingers.
Take the jelly cranberry out, and gently shake until the entire contents comes out on the plate. Then take a knife and gently slide it cutting 1/8 inch slabs.
Set the small slabs of cranberry aside and prepare the cheese mixture.
I use a mixer for this part, because I really want to whip and mix the ingredients as best I can. Add the whipped cream cheese, the goat cheese, and take your lemon and grate some lemon zest into the mixture. I would suggest about 2 teaspoons. Once you have it mixed, add the mint leaves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and hit that mixer with a vengeance. Hit with a little sea salt and pepper, like a dash at best.
I found two ways of doing this technique. One is using what I call a “Stuffing gun” and squirt the cheese mixture into the form when needed. The other is spoon it and gently push with a plastic sandwich bag that I have sprayed non stick Pam on so it pushes down into the form.
The sequence is important here, simply because it allows you to use the ingredients to push into the form allowing the ingredients to set correctly.
Spray your form with Pam. Start with the beets, then the cheese mixture, sprinkle with chopped nuts. One layer completed. See below, you really want to use a sandwich bag or back of a spoon to push the cheese mixture so it is touching the form.
Then add a slice of cranberry, cheese mixture, sliced radishes.
Beets, slice of cranberry, radishes, cheese mixture and finish with the pistachios.
You can refrigerate in the form, I would suggest doing this for a minimum of 30 minutes that will allow the ingredients to “set” better. You do not want your masterpiece to fall apart as you serve. Take a spoon and click on the form as you gently pull the form up. If it is not moving, gently push the top and it will start to move.
I usually put into the fridge until I am ready to start service. When you are ready to plate, take the form off and drizzle the pistachio oil on top and around the plate.
This is a dish that I think Emeril himself would say “BAM”.
One of the things I love most about doing this blog is eating with my family and friends, but shooting in the kitchen with my oldest daughter Megan. We are always tasting, talking, laughing, and then getting focused again. She is a talent to be reckoned with a camera. I love to watch her work. One of our projects we will be working on is the Hunting Chef Cookbook when we both get time. When we do, this recipe will definitely make the cut. Just for the record, her photos are the ones that look really good. I take the ones when I am working on building the product and I am always in a hurry and hands are always dirty.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and you had fun making smiles at the kitchen table.
The Hunting Chef