March 18, 2013

Roasted Beet, Arugula, & Honeyed Goat Cheese Panini

Roasted Beet, Arugula, & Honeyed Goat Cheese Panini

This will be a quick (or quickly written) post as I'll soon be jumping on a flight back home from Boston!  I attended a conference here this past week (which is the reason for the lack of posts lately, sorry!) and also had a day to explore the city for the first time, which I absolutely loved.  So many beautiful streets and neighbourhoods, lots of history and amazing buildings, friendly people, and great food!  I was lucky to be here on St. Patrick's Day too, and though I didn't participate in the festivities myself (except for a delicious Harpoon IPA or two in my room), it was fun to see all the people covered in green out celebrating!

Roasted Beet, Arugula, & Honeyed Goat Cheese Panini

In the interest of keeping this short, there's not much I need to tell you about this sandwich except that it's one of my favourite things!  Beets and goat cheese together are always a winning combination, but combine them with arugula (or greens if you can't find arugula, like myself) in a warm pressed sandwich and they're even better.

You've probably seen a few of these sandwiches around the web before, but what makes this one different is the addition of honey to the goat cheese and dressing the greens with balsamic dressing before putting them in the sandwich - both very small changes that improve the flavour of the sandwich significantly.  

Roasted Beet, Arugula, & Honeyed Goat Cheese Panini

Oh and one more thing I wanted to share!  If you don't have a panini press, you can still make paninis!  I don't have a press either, but you can replicate its effects by pressing your sandwich on a skillet using a heavy pot.  If you don't have a heavy pot, stack several pots together to increase the weight, as in the picture below (please ignore my filthy pots, that's what happens when you live in a hard water city).  Just be sure to flip your sandwich halfway through so it gets heated on both sides.  I used a griddle pan which added lovely smokey grill marks, but a regular pan would work just fine too.

Hope you all had a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day and have a great week ahead!


Roasted Beet, Arugula, and Honeyed Goat Cheese Panini

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients:

2 medium beets
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 slices hearty bread – I used Bavarian rye
2 tablespoons goat cheese (or more, depending on size of bread)
1/2-1 teaspoon honey or agave
2 handfuls arugula or field greens
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Drizzle beets with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.  Roast on a baking sheet for about 1 hour, until tender.  When cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and slice into thin rounds, about ¼” thick.  Season with salt and pepper.

If you don’t have time to roast the beets that long, you can take a shortcut method:  Peel and slice the beets before roasting, drizzle slices with oil and season with salt and pepper, lay in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast in a 375°F oven for 20-30 minutes until tender.  However, I find that the beets do not turn out as well using this method.

Mix goat cheese and honey to taste.  Dress greens with 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  You can adjust the amount of dressing depending on the quantity of greens you’re using – use your best judgment.  Dressing the greens will give them more flavour in the sandwich.

Spread goat cheese evenly on two slices of bread.  Top with sliced roasted beets, followed by greens, and another slice of bread to form two sandwiches. 

Cook sandwiches in a panini press.  If you don’t have one, you can cook them on a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat.  Place a heavy pot (you can place a can or smaller pots inside to make it heavier) on top of the sandwiches to press them into the hot pan.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip and repeat with the remaining side.  Serve warm.

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