Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The Throwback Appetizer: Beet-Blue Cheese Terrine
Doesn't seem like it was that long ago, does it?
The salty breeze, the glare so bright you don't take your sunglasses off all weekend, the lazy crabs crawling over the rocks -- who doesn't love themselves a little summer getaway? My favorite part of these days is always right before sunset; the prickle of hot water on slightly sunburned skin, a G&T with lots of lime, and, of course, something to nibble on.
Today's recipe is one of those great vacation nibbles, polished up and made respectable for the winter months. I actually like it best with a ice-cold pilsner, but, no matter what you're drinking, it'll make you plenty of friends. Let's get right to it.
Beet-Blue Cheese Terrine
Makes one 4-inch terrine
1 can Silver Dollar Beets
1/4 pound Triple-Creme Blue Cheese (Cambozola is a nice choice)
2 Tablespoons Milk or Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Chives or Scallions, finely chopped
So yes, I use canned beets for this recipe. I know, it's an abomination not to buy them from the farmer's market. But think about it -- a dollar a can, always uniform size, already cooked and peeled for you; there's no need to complain here. Michael Pollan and Alice Waters will be by later to judge us all.
Here's the cheese; Cambozola is probably the widest available Triple-Creme, but any blue cheese with thick and creamy, gooeyness is acceptable. The first task is to cream it with the milk and chives.
Chop your chives (save the tops for garnish, if you'd like)...
...blend in your milk, and mash everything with a fork until you have a smooth and spreadable paste.
Next, line a 4-inch bowl with plastic wrap, trying to adhere the plastic to the surface of the bowl as well as you can.
Slice your beets into uniform, 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices. Save the end pieces to fill in the cracks.
Lay down a first layer of the beets on the bottom of the bowl. Try to keep the largest, most attractive slices near the center, and work your way outside using smaller slices.
Spread a thin layer of the blue cheese mixture across the beets.
Build another layer of beets on top of this. Continue this process until the bowl is filled to the brim.
Bring the sides of the plastic wrap up and fold them over the top of the bowl. Press down lightly to bind everything together. Place the bowl into the fridge until ready to serve.
Shortly before serving your guests, remove the bowl from the fridge and unwrap the sides of the plastic wrap. Flip the terrine over and out onto a plate. Remove both the bowl and the plastic wrap from the terrine, drizzle a little olive oil around it, and serve with lots of crackers or toast points. The final product:
And there you have it! Does it look a little like a UFO? Sure. But that's part of the charm. The terrine's striking appearance will only make your guests curious to try it, and, once they do, they'll realize just how delicious a surprise they've stumbled upon. The beets and blue cheese work together wonderfully, and the onions lighten things up just a bit. As I said, this is one of those easy summer specials, something that needs little planning and less skill. Give it a try; you'll swear there's a harbor breeze coming in through the window.
We'll return this upcoming weekend yet another recipe -- see you then!
Music: Michael Jackson -- "Beat It"