Lance Barto in action at Strings
Lance Barto in action at Strings

Strings serves up an unbeatable beet recipe

Harvest Week ends today. But should you feel inspired to try to recreate some of the dishes that Denver's independent restaurants have been creating out of local ingredients, Strings, Noel Cunningham's New American restaurant at 1700 Humboldt Street, has offered up chef Lance Barto's recipe for Red Beet-Potato Gratin

Ingredients: 3 red beets 3 baking potatoes 6 oz. Colorado goat cheese 1 qt. cream 6 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs, but regular will work fine) Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by slicing beets thinly on a mandolin or by hand. Layer the beets evenly over the bottom of a glass casserole (9" x 9"). Heat cream over low heat until simmering, reduce slightly and melt in the goat cheese and half of the parm. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the liquid over the beets and potatoes until they are almost entirely submerged. Gently press down on the potatoes and beets with your hands; there should be enough liquid for them to be barely submerged while you press gently. (If you have any of your cream base left over, it makes an excellent pasta sauce.)

Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. To check for doneness, take a slice of potato off the top and taste. Once the potatoes have cooked through, remove the foil, top first with remaining parm, then with a light layer of bread crumbs. Bake for 5-10 more minutes until the crust is golden brown. Remove the gratin from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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