Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

As discussed in a recent recipe inspired by 71 Clinton Fresh Food, Gothamist loves the creative and somewhat risky cooking style of Wylie Dufresne of now WD-50 fame. We’ve heard the entire spectrum of comments about WD-50 – from bold and brilliant to weird and overpriced, so we spontaneously decided to find out for ourselves.

Gothamist didn’t feel that Wylie was inventing to be cute or just for the sake of gaining attention for the unusual. Most everything makes relative sense and remains accessible to everyday tastes. That being said, there is usually at least one ingredient in each dish that challenges the notion of how we’d expect to eat everyday ingredients. A thin and crunchy nori-like chip made strictly from black olives, or a wasabi sorbet would seemingly be offensive. At the very minimum, they require an open mindedness for exploration rather than the typical mindset of satisfying the itch to simply chow down.

For Gothamist, eating at WD-50 made us want to rush home and make something we’ve never seen before on a restaurant menu. One of the many things that WD-50 served that we found inspiring was a golden beet cake with a red beet sorbet. Granted, it wasn’t a favorite of our friends since it was a dessert (!), but the concept led us to a savory, rich dish that celebrates the unsexy but sweet and earthy flavor of beets. Brilliant? Weird? Who cares…it just tastes good.

Gothamist Recipe

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Beets Three Ways
golden beet goat cheese flan, rosemary red beet puree, roasted beet pine nut salad


This dish is a great thing to make if you’re looking to try something new. The flan is successful based on the combination of the rich, creamy goat cheese with the earthy golden beet flavor. The roasted beet salad adds texture, while the red beet puree adds a sweet earthiness, thanks to the addition of rosemary.

Add a side salad of mixed greens to make this a full meal or use your imagination and add to this recipe – lamb chops, duck, bacon or mushrooms would all be great additions.

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people

4 red beets
4 golden yellow beets
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Unsalted butter
2 large eggs
½ cup heavy cream
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 bunch rosemary
.5 lb of soft chevre or domestic goat cheese
1 lemon
aluminum foil
1 bag of pine nuts
1 can chicken stock

Estimated cost of ingredients: $17 at Fairway

Special Equiptment

2 ramkins (large muffin baking pan is OK)
Food processor or blender
Baking Pan

Prep and Roast the Beets

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

On a piece of foil (or else you’ll discolor your cutting board), cut off the greens from the beet and set aside. Peel the skins of all of the beets with a peeler and discard. Take the red beets and place in a large piece of foil. Slice each beet into quarters. Add one glug of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, one sprig of rosemary and one tablespoon of water. Wrap the foil tightly, covering the beets completely. Do this for the rest the yellow beets, making sure to keep the yellow beets away from the reds, as they may affect the color.

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Place each packet into the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Take out of the oven and take out of the packets to begin to cool. Stick a fork in them and make sure they are soft and tender. Add them back to the oven if they need a few more minutes.

Leave oven on for the flan.

Make the Flan

You can make the flan mixture while the beets are roasting.

Crack both eggs into a large bowl. Add ¼ cup and one tablespoon of heavy cream, one squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkle of salt, pepper and four tablespoons of the goat cheese. Chop a pinch of rosemary and add to the mix. Whisk this together vigorously until it becomes one smooth, thick, heavy batter. Set this aside. When the yellow beets cool down, take all but two of the yellow beets and rough chop them. Add them to the flan mixture and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.

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Butter the ramekins or your muffin tin (or use non stick spray). Pour the flan mixture into the vessels, about ¾ full in each container (it will rise a bit). Next, place the ramekins in your baking pan and place it into the oven. Before closing the door, pour hot water from your sink carefully into the baking pan, avoiding spilling water into the ramekin cups. Fill the pan until the water comes up ¼ from the bottom of the ramekin cup. (This prevents the bottoms of the flans from burning).

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Close the door and let cook for about 25 minutes.

Make the Puree

While the flan is in the oven, take all but two of the red beets and rough chop. Add to the food processor with one glug of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, two tablespoons butter, two squeezes of lemon juice, a one second pour of chicken stock and a sprinkle of chopped rosemary. Puree for one minute until smooth.

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Finish the Flan

After 25 minutes, check by touching the top of the flan. It should be soft yet firm, but not jiggling. You can also test by inserting a toothpick and having it come away clean.

Take the ramekins out of the pan with tongs while still in the oven and let the water sit in the oven until it becomes cooler to the touch. Taking the pan out all at once may lead to the water spilling and burning you. Let flans cool on counter for five minutes in order to let it set.

Make the Salad

Chop the remaining yellow and red beets into small cubes. Chop one teaspoon of rosemary. Add the beets and rosemary into a small bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper, a glug of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix thoroughly with a spoon and taste. Balance the dressing with another squeeze of lemon or more oil based on your tastes.

Turn a small pan onto high heat and add a handful of the pine nuts and a pinch of salt. Toast for two minutes or until lightly browned. Take care not to burn. Add the pine nuts to the beets.

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Finish the Dish

After the flan rests, ladle two spoonfuls of the red beet puree on the bottom of a plate. Place the ramekin, upside down, above the puree. Tap with a spoon and lift up – the flan should slide out easily. Top with the beet salad and serve right away.
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