This amuse bouche featuring Pickled Baby Beets with herbed goat cheese and candied kumquats is an elegant starter for a dinner party.
Years and years ago, I was asked to participate in an online challenge through Kitchen PLAY. The challenge consisted of six different bloggers all creating original recipes centered around one ingredient.
In this particular challenge, we were all tasked with creating recipes using pickled baby beets and I was assigned the amuse bouche which really gave my imagination free reign in the kitchen. Amuse bouche translates from the French as "amuse the mouth" and I think that's an apt description for this heavenly little bite I created.
I've always loved beets. Just adore them, really. Their rich, earthy smell and taste pairs well with so many other things. And one of the flavors with which they pair best is citrus. The bright, sweet citrus notes contrast with the beets in an unexpectedly pleasant way.
I thought it would be interesting to also add an herbal component to the mix with some of the fresh basil that is always overflowing in my summer herb garden. I find that basil has some of the same flavor notes as citrus which further bumped up that profile.
But I didn't want my one little bite to be overwhelmed by sweet citrus. I wanted some contrast and that is nicely provided by the herbed goat cheese.
The finished recipe is definitely amusing to the mouth with its sweet little slice of candied kumquat, one perfectly pickled, earthy baby beet, and a contrasting bite of creamy herbed goat cheese.
I truly hope you'll try these little bites and enjoy them just like we did. They're pretty impressive to offer your guests at a fancy dinner party.
How to Make Pickled Baby Beets Amuse Bouche
Start by making the candied kumquats. Rinse and dry the kumquats. Then remove a small slice from each end and discard. Slice the kumquats into thin slices (about 3-4 per fruit) removing all seeds as you work.
In a small, heavy-bottomed pan place the water, sugar, basil leaf, and prepared kumquat slices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat swirling the pan occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.
Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the kumquat slices to cool completely in the liquid. Drain the slices and set aside until needed.
Next, prepare the herbed goat cheese. Simply combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, finely chopped fresh basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Set that aside for now.
Prepare the beets by simply draining away the liquid and placing them on some paper towels to continue draining until you're ready to assemble.
Prepare one silver spoon for each serving. To each spoon, add approximately 1/2 teaspoon of herbed goat cheese. Top with one whole pickled baby beet and a slice of candied kumquat.
Garnish with a sliver of finely julienned fresh basil.
(Note: I chose to serve the amuse bouche in single bites assembled in silver spoons. You may choose a neutral cracker or small piece of melba toast for serving.)
More Appetizers on Never Enough Thyme:
- Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
- Asiago Cheese Crisps
- Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms
- Marinated Feta with Roasted Lemon and Dill
Recipes Using Pickled Beets from Other Bloggers:
- Pickled Beet Hummus White Bean Dip with Za’atar, Feta, and Mint from An Edible Mosaic
- The 44 Special: A Dreamy Roasted Sweet Potato and Pickled Beet Sandwich with Aioli and Goat Cheese from Alexandra's Kitchen
- Quick Pickled Beets and Yellow Wax Beans with Feta and Chives from Inspiralized
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Pickled Baby Beets Amuse Bouche
- 8 oz. kumquats
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large basil leaf
- 4 oz. goat cheese room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
- dash of salt
- dash of ground black pepper
- 1 jar pickled baby beets recommended: Aunt Nellie's brand
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves julienned
Make the candied kumquats:
- Rinse and dry the kumquats. Remove a small slice from each end and discard. Slice kumquats into thin slices (about 3-4 per fruit) removing all seeds as you work.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed pan place the water, sugar, basil leaf and prepared kumquats. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat swirling the pan occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and allow the kumquat slices to cool completely in the liquid.
- Drain the slices and set aside until needed.
Make the herbed goat cheese:
- Combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, basil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Prepare the beets:Drain the liquid from the beets and place them on absorbent paper towels to drain briefly.
Assemble the amuse bouche:
- Prepare one silver spoon for each serving.
- To each spoon, add approximately 1/2 teaspoon of herbed goat cheese. Top with one whole Aunt Nellie’s Baby Pickled Beet and a slice of candied kumquat. Garnish with a sliver of finely julienned fresh basil.
I received compensation from Kitchen Play for this post.
Lana Stuart is the cook and occasional traveler here at Never Enough Thyme. Lana has been cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove and started this blog in 2009 to share her delicious home cooking recipes. You'll find about 700 recipes here so there's sure to be something your family will like!
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