Twelve years ago, I got out of the hospital after a very long struggle with my health. It was one of those life-changing moments in life where you’re permanently affected in every way. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, philosophically, spiritually. I was left with a greater appreciation for every moment.
Upon returning home, I no longer had a place of my own to live, so while I was getting settled into a normal routine again, I had stayed with my aunt. She was a wonderful woman who gave unconditionally. She opened her small place to me for several weeks and while I was there I cooked for her to help and “earn my keep” so to speak. Her favourite thing that I made was roasted root vegetables. I’d usually have a blend of different root vegetables that would add a variety of colour and flavour as a side dish to any meat dish.
She was of advanced age and declining health at the time, yet still welcomed me. She ended up passing away a few years later and every time I make roasted root vegetables, I think of how much she enjoyed them.
Today I made them, and decided to add a touch of honey and simmer them to soften them further and make a delightfully sweet spread. It made the perfect topping for a toasted baguette.
Rustic Roasted Root Vegetable Crostini
For the Rustic Roasted Root Vegetables:
2 or 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2cm/1″ chunks (about 1/2 cup in volume)
1 small celeriac/celery root, peeled and chopped into 2cm/1″ chunks (about 1/2 cup in volume)
2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped into 2cm/1″ chunks (about 1/2 cup in volume)
1 medium purple potato (just because of the funky colour, but a regular red skinned potato is fine), chopped into 2cm/1″ chunks (about 2/3-3/4 cup in volume)
2 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper
In a medium bowl, combine the carrots, celeriac, parsnips, potato, oil, honey and salt. Toss together with your hand to ensure an even coating of oil and honey over all of the root vegetables. Spread in an even layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Take out of the oven and transfer the roasted vegetables, which are only partially cooked and slightly browned, to a medium pot. Add 1/4 cup of water, bring to a simmer over medium high heat, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Take off the lid and reduce any remaining moisture. Roughly mash some of the root vegetable chunks with a fork. Leaving some of the chunks relatively whole is okay, as long as there’s enough of the mixture mashed to hold it together.
Prepared Rustic Roasted Root Vegetables
10-12 slices of baguette, toasted or grilled
Shredded pecorino or parmesan cheese, to garnish
Over two plates, divide the toasted baguette slices. Spoon over the room temperature Rustic Roasted Root Vegetables on top of each toasted baguette slice. Finish with a light shredding of pecorino cheese. Serves 3-4 as a starter.