First up on the holiday appetizer spread is a festive platter of citrus marinated beets and goat cheese on top of rye crisps. I love how the beets add a pop of bright red to my tablescape.
Citrus Marinated Beets with Goat Cheese
Makes 24-30 appetizers
2-3 roasted red beets, finely diced (2 cups total)
2 Tbs. shallots, minced
2 Tbs. orange juice
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 ounces goat cheese
2-3 Tbs. yogurt
1 Tbs. orange zest
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
Rye crips (such as Wasa, or other hearty cracker)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stems and root tip from the beet bulb and wash/scrub well - do not worry about drying them. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan to catch any drippings. Roast in the oven for 50-60 minutes until a knife can be easily inserted to the middle of the largest beet. Let cool 15-20 minutes. To remove the skin, unwrap from the aluminum foil and, using a paper towel for friction, gently rub away the peel. It should come off very easily. Roasted beets can be stored in the fridge for up to one week.
Combine finely diced beets, shallots, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, and sea salt in a bowl and let marinate for at least 20 minutes, but several hours in the fridge is fine too.
Combine goat cheese with yogurt and blend until smooth and easily spreadable. You may another tablespoon of yogurt. This too can be made several hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
1. If large, break rye crisps into smaller 2-bite pieces. Top all of your rye crisps with a thin layer of goat cheese and place them aside on a sheet pan.
2. Using a slotted spoon and only taking a few pieces at a time, place the beet cubes on top of the goat cheese (use your fingers to press them down a bit so they adhere). The more delicate and precise you are the better, otherwise beet juice runs everywhere.
3. Once assembled, transfer the crisps to your serving platter and sprinkle with thyme and orange zest.
Note: You can separately prepare the beets and the goat cheese well in advance, however, do not assemble the crisps until just before serving. Otherwise, the beet juices will bleed into your goat cheese.
Tip: When choosing beets, I prefer to buy them with the greens still attached. They tend to be fresher. Plus, I get the added bonus of the leafy greens, which are great sautéed the same way you would do with kale or swiss chard.