- 2 handfuls of hickory chips (used for smoking in a BBQ)
- 6 medium Chioggia beets
Pimento Goat Cheese Spread
- 8-oz. jar sweet pimentos (in water)
- 1 lb. goat cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
- 1 oz. shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
- splash sherry vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios, finely ground
- 1 lb. assorted greens
- vinaigrette of your choice
- Soak the hickory chips in cold water for 30 minutes while you do the following:
- Wash beets well and place in a medium pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes, until they are just fork tender but not too soft. (They will continue to cook as they are smoked.) Drain beets and set aside. Once they have cooled a bit, rub off the skin with a kitchen rag (that you don’t mind getting beet-stained). The skin will slide right off if the beets are still warm.
- Drain the wet wood chips, place in the bottom of a deep pot, and set a stainless steel colander above them in the pot (the feet of the colander will keep it off the chips).
- Place the peeled beets in the colander and put the pot on the stovetop over medium/low heat. Cover the pot either with a tight-fitting lid or foil.
- As the chips heat up, the smoke will immediately start to infuse the beets. Continue smoking for 20-30 minutes for best results. Check doneness by removing a beet and tasting – you should taste the smoke. Chill when done.
Pimento Cheese Spread
- Drain the water out of the jar of pimentos, reserving two pimentos, and empty the rest of the jar into the bowl of a food processor. Add the goat cheese, shredded white cheddar, shallot, and vinegar. Pulse the processor to break up the ingredients; then process steadily for 2 minutes until you have a smooth orange consistency with barely any specks of red pimentos. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Roughly chop the remaining two pimentos, add them into the bowl, and pulse a few times to get them blended in (you should still have some tiny visible pimento pieces in the mix.)
- Spread shelled pistachios on a cookie sheet and place into an oven pre-heated to 300*F. Toast for 12 minutes, rotate the pan, and toast for another 5-8 minutes, making sure they do not burn.
- When they are dry and totally cooled (after at least a few hours on the counter or overnight), place in a food processor and process them to “dust.” This magic dust will last for a long time in a well-sealed jar or plastic container. It is lovely sprinkled on just about anything, including a peanut butter sandwich.
Coat the bottom of a bowl with the pimento spread (about 2 tablespoons per serving). Slice the beets and place on top of cheese. Top with local greens, toasted pistachios, and a vinaigrette of your choice. We love lemon-ginger vinaigrette.
Recipe courtesy of Sugar & Olives, Chef/Creative Director Jennifer Balin