Winter has been getting me down lately. I'm craving sunlight and vegetables, and feeling more than a bit lethargic and broke. I think things began a downward turn when I returned to work after the Christmas holiday to find, not a bonus or a holiday greeting, but a note from my employer stating that, since they had decided to close the office on December 26th and January 2nd, all of the employees were being docked two vacation days. I'm glad to still have a job and all, but jeez, happy holidays huh?
It's high time to fit a bright dish into the dreary winter landscape, and to be grateful for the good things that have recently come to pass. I have been going a bit beet crazy this winter and I thought it might be a good time to share one of my favorite seasonal appetizers with you (it also makes a great, light lunch). This dish can be prepared easily and transported for fast assembly at another location. You'll want to adjust the recipe for the crowd you plan to serve, but this recipe will make about 20 crostini.
Roasted Beet, Arugula and Goat Cheese Crostini
Half a fresh, high-quality baguette
3 large beets
4 ounces goat cheese, or more to taste
2 large handfuls of fresh arugula
Preheat the oven to 375F
To roast the beets, rinse the beets and cover with foil. Roast in the oven at 375F for about an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly and chop off the root and stem ends. Rub with your hands to remove the skins. Cut into 1/4 inch slices. (If you are in a rush, this works just fine with canned beets -- just make sure the only ingredients on the can are beets and salt and that you let them drain thouroughly.)
Increase the oven temperature to 400F
Slice the baguette thinly, between a 1/4 and 1/2 an inch thick. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet, brush each slice with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Let toast in the 400F oven for about 8 minutes, or until the slices begin to turn a light golden color. Remove and let cool.
Spread a thin layer of goat cheese on each crostini (or more to taste). Place a beet slice on each and top with three or four leaves of arugula.
*If you will transporting the crostini to another location. Spread each crostini with goat cheese and gently stack in a container. Line a second container with aluminum foil and place the beet slices inside. Cover the beet slices with another piece of foil and place your arugula on top.