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For the Beet Napoleons
1 poundred and golden beets left whole, scrubbed clean and dried
6ounce package herbed or honeyed goat cheese
many smallfrisée or mâche leaves
3tablespoons quality olive oil
good pinch Kosher salt
For the Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/2teaspoonfreshly cracked black pepper
1/4cupquality Balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup quality olive oil
Preparing the Vinaigrette
In a blender or mini chef prep food processor, add the honey, Dijon, salt and freshly cracked pepper, the garlic clove, Balsamic vinegar, and the olive oil. Process for 1 minute until smooth and emulsified. Process for 30 seconds more just before drizzling over Napoleons.
Roasting the Beets
* you will be assembling the Napoleons on the plates you will be serving from, so be sure to have waxed paper or parchment on hand before beginning
* using latex dish gloves to 'peel' the beets after roasting will prevent your fingertips from staining
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut two (2) 6 inch squares of waxed paper or parchment and place atop your plates. Place the presentation ring or biscuit cutter in the center of the waxed paper and set aside. If you only have one ring or cutter, you will need to prepare each Napoleon separately.
Trim the beets to about 1 inch of the greens. Toss whole, in a large bowl with olive oil and a good pinch of Kosher salt. Turn out onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Draw the foil in to create a pouch and seal it. If using more than one color of beet, roast the colors separately in different aluminum baking pouches so the colors do not bleed together during roasting.
Roast the beets in the pouches on a baking sheet for 1 hour, or until a knife is easily inserted into the biggest beets.
Allow beets to cool for only 15 minutes before 'peeling.' The skins will come off easily while the beets are still somewhat warm, so latex dish gloves help in this step. The skins should easily peel away with gentle rubbing. A knife may also be used if preferred. If using different color beets, peel the darkest beets last. It's okay if all of the skins do not come off, but try to get most of the skins. Discard the beet tops.
Rough chop the beets into a 1/4 to 1/2 inch dice. Keep different colors separate, and rinse your knife in between colors.
To Assemble the Napoleons
Working inside the presentation ring or biscuit cutter, begin the base layer of beets.
Scatter and press in gently so as to fill all edges and gaps, the base layer of beets. You may need to use a small spoon to get the pieces where you want them - it's a process. Build your base layer to about 1/2 to 3/4 inches tall.
Using a clean small spoon, drop half of the goat cheese in small dollops atop the base layer of beets, filling all of the gaps and spaces. Using the back of that spoon or your fingers, gently press the goat cheese into the base layer. Do not pack the cheese down hard, rather press down but do so loosely. Only the outside of this cheese layer will be seen once assembled so no need to smooth it out.
Follow with the last layer of beets, again being sure to fill fill all edges and gaps. Again, only the outside of this beet layer will be seen once assembled so do not be concerned that the pieces are uneven on the top.
Gently pull the waxed paper from beneath the Napoleon. Discard the waxed paper.
* if using a presentation ring, use the food press included with the ring to push the Napoleon down while you lift the ring up and off the Napoleon.
* if using a biscuit cutter, use the back of a wide spoon to push the Napoleon down while you lift the ring up and off of the Napoleon.
Once both Napoleons are assembled, add 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette to the top of each, allowing the dressing to spill down and fill and flavor any interior nooks and crannies.
Highlight the top with beautiful frisée or mâche leaves and additional vinaigrette spooned over the greens and drizzled down the sides of the Napoleon.
Serve with soft warmed yeast rolls and softened assorted compound butters.
If not serving immediately, the Napoleons may be refrigerated, assembled but NOT dressed with the vinaigrette, for several hours. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before dressing and serving.