Jason Atherton’s cookbook “Maze” is probably one of the more visually stimulating cookbooks I have come across. Jason spent time working with world class chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffman, Nico Ladenis, and Ferran Adrià. He is now considered a world class chef in his own right with two ventures currently operating, one in Shanghai called Table no. 1, and the other is the Pollen Street Social in London.The idea for the menu at the Maze restaurant was Jason’s, a synthesis of east/west flavors combined into a modern take on tapas. Just flipping through the pages of the book one gets the feeling that to have eaten at Jason’s Maze would have been a special experience. Relating to this recipe, Jason writes of Gordon once saying to him “to be a true innovator you have to be copied, and not to copy someone else.” This recipe speaks volumes of the creativity he possesses. I have never had a complaint when serving it in my home, not once, and that includes avid antagonists of beets. It is no wonder that this dish was considered a signature dish in the restaurant.
INGREDIENTS (6 servings)
· 3 large beets, peeled
· 2 tbsp butter
· 1 thyme sprig
· Sea salt and black pepper
· 200g soft goat’s cheese (or ewe’s milk ricotta or fresh goat curd)
· 75ml olive oil
· 2 tbsp chardonnay or other white wine vinegar
· 2 tbsp honey
· 1tbsp superfine sugar
· 1tsp thyme leaves
· 1 tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine vinegar
· 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
· Few pieces of butter
· 1tbsp toasted chopped pine nuts
· Using a mandolin thinly slice 2 of the beets, and use a 5cm pastry cutter to stamp out small discs until you have 36 discs. Set aside the trimmings.
· Mix ingredients for marinate in a bowl, add the beet discs one at a time, and chill overnight.
· Cut the 3rd beet into thin sticks or a fine dice, again saving the trimmings.
· Place all the beat trimmings into a pan and barely cover with water, bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down to simmer for 20 minutes.
· Heat the butter in a pan, add the thyme, season the beet sticks with salt and pepper then add to the pan to fry for a few minutes, tossing occasionally until tender. Drain off excess butter and let cool on plate lined with paper towels.
· Season the cheese with salt and pepper, beat with a fork, and place into a pastry bag.
· For the dressing, strain off the juice from the pan and discard the trimmings, returning the juice to the pan to boil vigorously until you attain a syrupy consistency at which point you cool then mix with the red wine vinegar and olive oil, and season to taste.
· Heat the butter in the skillet and add the pine nuts. Toss until golden, let cool on paper towels, and then roughly chop and add them to the beet dressing.
· Serve by placing 3 discs on each place, piping a mound of cheese on the middle of each disc, spooning a few beet sticks on top of each mound, then covering with another marinated disc. Spoon over the dressing and garish with micro leaves to serve.