Baked vegetable salad
( SERVES 4 )
- Beetroot takes a long time to bake, so it's a good idea to parboil it. Bring to the boil, unpeeled, in a pot of salted water. Lower the heat and simmer 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash the zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and cross-hatch the flesh with the point of a knife. Slice the unpeeled eggplant 1cm-thick, then salt the cut surfaces of both vegetables and place, cut-side down, on paper towels. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut in half lengthwise. Peel the pumpkin and discard the seeds. Cut into four wedges. Peel the baby kumara and cut in half lengthwise. Peel the onions and cut into wedges, leaving a tiny bit of the root end on.
- Heat the oven to 180C. Brush all the vegetables with pure olive oil. The next step is optional, but gives the dish a better appearance: if you have a ridged grill pan, (or barbecue), heat it well and cook the vegetables until they acquire grill marks.
- Wrap the parboiled beetroot in foil. Place all the vegetables in a baking dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until done, removing the various types in sequence as they are cooked (check with a skewer).
- Remove the crusts from the bread slices and cut into 1cm cubes. Toss in pure olive oil, place in an ovenproof pan and bake alongside the vegetables until golden brown.
- To assemble the salad, remove and discard the skin and stalks from the beetroot and cut into quarters. Add all the vegetables to a serving bowl and toss carefully with the extra-virgin olive oil. Correct the seasoning and leave to reach room temperature. Don't refrigerate. When ready to serve, gently mix in the bread cubes, strip the leaves from the rosemary sprigs, chop roughly and scatter over the top.