Entrée for 6 or main for 4
For this salad buy a selection of the best, sturdy root vegetables you can find at your green grocer. This selection is a crowd pleaser as everyone will find something they like.
– Butternut pumpkin
– Baby beetroots, tops trimmed but root tails washed and left intact
– Red onion
– Sweet potato
– Pumpkin seeds
– Balsamic vinegar
– Ketchap manis
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Freshly ground pepper and salt flakes
Peel vegetables and cut into large chunks. Mushrooms can be left whole and the fennel cut into slices vertically towards the root end. This will keep the slices intact.
Place the vegetables except for the mushrooms, zucchini and pumpkin seeds in a large baking tray. Find two more smaller trays for the mushrooms and zucchini in one and the pumpkin seeds on a sheet of baking paper, in the other. These will take less time to cook than the root vegetables.
Coat all the vegetables (except for the rocket leaves) with about 2 tsp balsamic vinegar to every 500g vegetables. Add 2 tbsp ketchap manis to every 500g vegetables. Toss with your hands to coat well. Lastly drizzle over enough olive oil to moisten well. Grind over black pepper and sprinkle with salt flakes.
Bake the root vegetables at 200C for up to an hour or until they are tender when pierced with a knife. Toss the vegetables around in the pan every 7 minutes or so to prevent sticking. The result should be vegetables with a shiny, caramelised coating with appetising deep brown edges, but not burnt. The mushrooms and zucchini will take approx 20 mins. Cook the pumpkin seeds, prepared in the same way, for about 8 minutes or until they are puffed.
To serve: Arrange the baked vegetables in a loose pyramid in the middle of the plate, with the baby beet turned upside down – the root-end tail will provide a dramatic presentation note. Drizzle a few lines of extra virgin oil around the outside of the arrangement and sprinkle a garland of the roasted pumpkin seeds around the edge.