Caviar Tower with Beet Carpaccio
I came up with this elegant starter for a dinner party we hosted. I knew I was going to have to spend a lot of time on the main course, so I opted for a dish that was quick and easy to assemble. It's made of four flavorful layers: crème fraîche flavored with beet green pesto, pumpkin seed-crusted Russian rye bread, grilled beet carpaccio and a luxurious caviar topping.
I always make extra pesto that I store for later use. If you're storing frozen pesto cubes as I've suggested in the past, this is a recipe that you can whip up very easily. I also used freshly picked beets from our garden, grilled them on the barbecue and thinly sliced them with a mandoline. If you're looking for a vegetarian alternative to caviar, you could always replace it with roasted red bell pepper red pesto-flavored quinoa caviar. Either way, this first course is as appealing to the eye as it is to the stomach.
Yields: 8 servings2 tablespoons beet green pesto, or any pesto
1 cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
7 fresh candy striped beets (or any variety of beets)
1 (1.2-pound) package Russian rye bread, cut into ½-inch thick slices
6 tablespoons oil
4 ounces salmon roe caviar, at room temperature
8 garlic chives, finely snipped
1 teaspoon rock pink salt, freshly grated
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
Preparing the crème fraîche: Combine the beet green pesto and the crème fraîche. Stir well. adjust seasoning if necessary.
Preparing the beets: Remove any dirt and scrub the beets under tap water. Trim off a little piece from the end of the root. Peel the beets. Cut them in half lengthwise .
Lightly brush a grill with olive oil and heat it. Place the halved beets on the hot grill for approximately 3 minutes per side, until you get grill marks. Sprinkle with salt. Move them away from the heat and place them in the lowest heat of the grill; covered and cooked for 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Shave the beets using a mandoline slicer on the thinnest setting. Drizzle with more olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Note: Remove the caviar from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving to bring back to room temperature.
Warm the bread slices on the lowest setting on a toaster. Create 2 disks per slice using a 2¾" metal circle cutter.
On an individual serving plate, place a small dollop of crème fraîche, so the first bread slice is stable. Stack 1 bread slice, spread a thin layer of crème fraîche, sprinkle with garlic chives, place about 1 teaspoon of caviar in the center and garnish with thin shavings of 1 grilled beet, fanning the slices out. Cover with another crème fraîche layer. Place the second bread slice, the last crème fraîche layer and finish with 2 teaspoons of caviar.
Garnish with more garlic chives.
You can find Russian rye bread called "Kraftkorn" at Esther's German Bakery. You could use other dark rye bread alterntives or any kinds of lightly toasted bread.Published By: on July 10, 2012.