I adapted this beet and goat cheese salad from a dish that used to be on the menu at Lido. A very popular restaurant in Harlem, NY that serves great Italian food, good wines and really tasty cocktails. The chef changes the menu seasonally, so when I find something I really like on the menu, I make a point to go back regularly just in case it is removed from the menu in a few months! I ordered their beet and goat cheese salad expecting the usual mesclun salad with beets topped with goat cheese, and it was that, but instead of the cheese crumbled over the salad, it was nicely parceled in some filo pastry, a really nice touch and a much more interesting salad. Here’s my version.
I used Belgian endive in my salad, a very powerful salad greens – a source of vitamins and minerals, high in complex fibers and promotes digestive health. Endive is no slouch. It has been reported that one cup of endive per week can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 75%. So I speak to the ladies specifically here – let’s eat more endive!
I purchased the beets raw and roasted them the day before, I bought them with leaves, but removed the leaves prior to roasting and plan on using them in a stir-fry this week. Beets are so easy to roast. Simply cut off the roots and leaves, wash the beets thoroughly and then wrap in aluminum foil and roast on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 375 until soft. Make sure to check the beets regularly to make sure the heat doesn’t scorch and dry out the beets in areas. Roasting beets intensifies the flavor, makes them a little sweeter, but you can use pre-cooked beets if you’d rather avoid this step.
The dressing has strong potent flavors which is simply saba, olive oil, soy sauce and lemon. If you are not familiar with saba, its a sweet syrup-like condiment made from grape must (juice) which can be used in many dishes such as fruit dressings, cheese, marinades and sauces. If you are not able to get your hands on a bottle of saba, then you can substitute with a richly-flavored balsamic vinegar.
This beet and goat cheese salad is the perfect appetizer, the subtle flavors and presentation are a great introduction to a celebratory meal.
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 medium red onion (sliced)
- 1 tbsp saba (or balsamic vinegar)
- 1 tsp sugar
- flour to dust work surface
- 3 sheets of filo pastry
- 4 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
- 2 tbsp of caramelized onion
- 1 egg (whisked) - as egg wash
- 1/4 cup saba (or balsamic vinegar)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 12 leaves of Belgian endive
- 4 tbsp walnuts (chopped)
- 4 slices of cooked beets
- Melt butter in skillet on high heat and then add sliced onion.
- Cook onion slices until the flavor is released and then lower heat to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for 30 mins, but check on the onions regularly to make sure they do not dry out.
- Once the onion slices have softened add saba and sugar and cook for a further 10-15 mins.
- Set aside until ready to add to goat cheese parcels.
- Prep your baking tray by rubbing all over with butter
- Dust your surface with flour to ensure the filo pastry doesn't stick to it.
- lay out two filo sheets in portrait position and then one more sheet on top in landscape position.
- In a bowl, mix goat cheese with caramelized onion.
- Cut the laid out filo pastry into four and then place a portion of the goat cheese and onion mixture (approx. 1 tbsp) in each section - in the center, but closer to one end of the pastry.
- Carefully wrap the pasty around the goat cheese and onion making sure the goat cheese and onion doesn't fall out, but not too tightly as you don't want the pastry to tear or burst when cooking.
- Brush edges with beaten egg to secure parcels and place on baking tray.
- Once you have placed all goat cheese parcels on the baking tray, brush them all thoroughly with the egg wash.
- Place in preheated oven at 425 and cook until golden brown (approx. 8 mins)
- Add saba, olive oil, soy sauce and lemon juice to a mixing jug and mix vigorously.
- Set aside until ready to serve salad.
- Place a cup of spinach on one side of each plate.
- Slice endive leaves in half (three for each serving) and tuck under spinach to hold in place
- Sprinkle walnuts over spinach and endive and then top with one thick beet slice.
- Place goat cheese parcel on top of beet slice and either pour dressing over salad, or do as I did and pour into a small serving dish and place next to salad.