Although Jamey Tochtrop of Stellina (3342 Watson Road; 314-256-1600) is best known for making handcrafted pastas, he is also known for making daily menu changes and creating innovative flavor combinations. He sources his ingredients from local farms and puts a unique twist on more classic fare. Tochtrop's beet terrine is one such dish, showcasing his culinary creativity as well as his commitment to sourcing local ingredients. Fresh beets, juicy Granny Smith apples and crunchy walnuts combine to form one colorfully presented tower, and the dish is garnished with olive-oil powder and a dollop of rich mascarpone cheese. You might ask: Why mascarpone, beets and olive-oil powder? We asked the same question. But we guarantee that with one taste, you'll appreciate the method behind Tochtrop's madness.
Total time 2 hours, cook time 45 minutes, yield 8 to 10 first-course servings
8-10 medium red beets ("Red Aces" from Berger Bluffs Farm pictured) 4 each Granny Smith apples peeled and fine diced 1 c toasted walnuts 1/2 c fresh mint 1 1/4 pack gelatin 1/4 c white wine vinegar 1/4 c white balsamic vinegar 1 T honey 1/4c water
Coat the beets in oil, and salt and cook for about an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in a foil pouch, until soft. While beets cook, peel apples and cut into a fine dice. Saute walnuts in oil until light brown. Add apples and cook another 3 to 4 minutes until soft and cool. when beets are cooked through cool in pouch to the touch, remove both ends and peel. Slice thinly and set aside.
Line the inside of a medium terrine mold with plastic wrap that over laps by 3 to 4 inches. Layer sliced beets across the bottom of the terrine evenly. Repeat this process 3 more times. Press 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves along the beet layer. Add remaining mint to cooked apples and walnuts and pour mixture over the mint layer. Repeat the bottom steps of layering the beets in four layers.
In a separate container dissolve gelatin in cool water. Combine both vinegars and honey in a pan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin mix into the pan and stir until gelatin is dissolved.
Pour the gelatin mixture over terrine mold and press down with a spatula or flat object to bring excess liquid to the surface. Fold over remaining plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Slice to the desired thickness and serve.
Serve with mascarpone, golden beet puree, extra-virgin olive-oil "powder," chives and microgreens.