Recipe from Chef Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market
For the beets:
2 cups water
2 cups red wine vinegar
2 pounds beets, medium-sized
Farmstead Cheese, 1 cup Neufchâtel Cheese, preferably Full Quiver from Kemp, Texas
For the granola:
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup coconut flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons local honey
1 tablespoon sea salt
For the citrus:
1 orange, preferably from Texas
1 red grapefruit, preferably from Texas
1 tablespoon mustard
⅓ cup champagne vinegar
⅔ cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Growing up, my mom was a minister for the Methodist church. I have been to my share of potluck lunches and eaten many variations of ambrosia salad. The combination of fruit, cream, and coconut usually consisted of canned fruit, shredded coconut, and whipped cream or marshmallows. It looks unsettling at first, but I grew to love it. I felt that a savory version could be just as nostalgic, and also made with seasonal produce. In the winter, Texas has an abundance of beets and citrus from the valley. My savory recipe uses sophisticated ingredients, but would have a similar texture of traditional ambrosia.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place beets in casserole dish. Add vinegar and water then cover with lid.
Place in oven and roast for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
Peel beets then cut into small wedges. Reserve.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl.
Line sheet pan with parchment paper and spread granola onto parchment.
Place in oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until darkly toasted. You are looking to toast it darkly here. It's called Burnt Coconut Granola. Burn it slightly and then let it cool completely.
Pour granola into medium bowl. Place half granola into food processor and pulse then return to bowl with granola and mix. This will give more crumbly texture.
Peel and segment orange and grapefruit. Reserve segments. Juice pith through strainer, reserve liquid.
In mixing bowl add citrus juice, mustard, vinegar and whisk until frothy. Slowly drizzle oil into juice mixture until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Vinaigrette will keep in fridge for two weeks.
To Assemble, toss roasted beets with vinaigrette and arrange on platter. Place dollops of farmstead cheese around platter and top with citrus segments. Sprinkle with granola and serve.