Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beetroot carpaccio with goat cheese and Estonian "kilu"

On the 24th of February 2015 Estonia is celebrating it´s 97th birthday.

In the era of global access to everything we are exposed to innumerable possibilities. A perfect Indian curry in England, decadent Austrian cakes, the freshest seafood served in Barcelona, a delightful plate of simple pasta in Florence or divinely delicious scoop of freshly made ice cream that hooks you into its spell and leaves you wanting more at Lago Maggiore, indescribably seductive eclairs in Paris, the best oven roasted lamb one can imagine in northern Spain, the delicate fatty herring in the streets of Amsterdam, the best bread in the world made by masters in Germany, tantalizingly tempting chocolate in Belgium, a glass of mango lassi that you never forget in Interlaken and many many many more delicacies of different cuisines in Europe are within one or two hour flying or train ride away. One can play the game of tastes, give in to curiosity and invite yourself or be invited to experiment and entertain your palate in any way you wish.
There is theoretically no reason to ever eat the same food again, the possibilities to experience new tastes are endless. 
And yet, every now and then we get bored or tired of the culinary affairs and indulgent episodes of excitement and we go back to some foods and dishes we have grown

So it does not come as a surprise that thinking of the menu for this anniversary of Estonia I am tending towards the down to earth ingredients that are widespread in our northern cooking. At the moment I haven´t got further from the starter, but I am thinking beetroot, garlic, horseradish, little salty fish we call "kilu". Kilu is similar to anchovies, but made slightly differently with spices like allspice, bay leaf, pepper and canned in salt brine. Some goat cheese to give the dish a special modern flavour. Keep it simple and let the ingredients do the talking.

Ingredients for 2:
a handful of lamb lettuce (Feldsalat in Germany, Nüssler Salat in Switzerland), or rocket (Rucola) as an alternative
2 beetroots, boiled and sliced into very thin slices
goat cheese, cut into 0.5 cm slices
2 cloves of garlic, cut very thinly or crushed
1tsp horseradish paste or grated horseradish
3 tbsp creme fraiche
1 can "vürtsikilu" filets or anchovies
black pepper

For the dressing combine:
1 tbsp apple vinegar
1 tbsp cold pressed rape seed oil or olive oil

Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
Place the slices of goat cheese on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.
Spread a little honey and a little crushed garlic or some slices of garlic and a half of walnut on each piece of cheese.
Grill the cheese in the oven until the top is bubbling as it melts or slightly golden.

Mix the horseradish with creme fraiche and a pinch of salt.

To serve place a small handful of lamb lettuce on the plate, arrange the beetroot slices in one or two layers in a circle.
Version 1: Top the beetroot carpaccio with grilled goat cheese

Version 2: Top the beetroot carpaccio with horseradish cream and fish filets

Sprinkle with the dressing and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Happy Birthday Estonia!

For more "kilu" and beetroot recipes check out:
Kilupirukad - pies with kilu filets
Beetroot soup with sauerkraut