Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beets in a small roasting pan and pour in enough cold water to reach about 1/4 of the way up the sides of the beets. Cover the pan with foil, and roast the beets until they are tender, 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes. To check for doneness, gently insert a bamboo skewer into a beet. The skewer should slide through easily. Remove the beets from the pan, allow to cool, and then peel. Cut each beet into 1/4-inch-thick round slices. Cut each slice with a 3-inch round cookie cutter. (You will need 10 rounds). Cut trimmings into 1/4-inch dice and reserve 1/2 cup for garnish. In a saute pan, bring vinegar and sugar to a boil. Lower to a simmer and poach beets 1 minute on each side. With a slotted spatula, remove and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover and refrigerate until needed. When ready to assemble, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan. Arrange the slices of Herbed Goat Cheese in the pan and warm slightly, turning them with a small spatula just to warm both sides. This has to be done quickly, or the cheese will melt. To assemble the napoleons, place 1 of the beet rounds on a firm, flat surface and begin to layer. Top with a slice of goat cheese, then another beet round, a second slice of cheese, another beet round, a third slice of cheese, and a beet round. (Continue until you have 5 layers of beets and 4 layers of cheese.) Carefully cut through layers, dividing into 3 wedges. Repeat with the remaining beets and cheese. To serve, arrange 3 of the wedges, pointed ends facing out, in a circle in the center of each plate. Toss the baby lettuces with the Spago House Dressing and mound half of the lettuces on top of each arranged napoleon. Drizzle 1/2 of the Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette around each mound. Sprinkle toasted nuts and reserved diced beets on top of drizzled vinaigrette. Serve immediately.
Herbed Goat Cheese:
Yield:1 (7 or 8-ounce) log
Combine the parsley, chives, thyme, and pepper and place on a flat surface. Roll the log of cheese in the mixture, coating all sides and retaining the shape of the log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Spago House Salad Dressing:
Yield:1 1/4 cups
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots and the mustard. Whisk in the vinegars and then the olive and vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate until needed.
Citrus Hazelnut Vinaigrette:
Yield:1 1/3 cups
In a medium saucepan, bring orange juice to a boil. Lower to a simmer and reduce until only 1/3 cup remains. Cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine orange juice, shallot, thyme, vinegar and orange zest. Slowly whisk in both oils until thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange the hazelnuts on a medium baking tray and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. (This can be done in a toaster oven). Remove to a clean towel and rub to remove as much of the skin as possible. Chop coarsely and use when needed.
Recipe courtesy of Wolfgang Puck, "Pizza, Pasta & More!," Random House, 2000