“This dish was inspired by all the gorgeous fresh produce I found at the Collingwood Children’s farm – a not-for-profit farmers’ market just five minutes from Melbourne’s CBD. Light and crisp eggplant tempura and a simple raw zucchini salad are the perfect companions for my decadent spice-baked cheese.” Rachel Khoo, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook Melbourne
- 400 g baby beetroot, mix of golden and purple
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 200 g wheel of brie
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- pinch of dried rose petals
- 40 g (¼ cup) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini, mix of green and yellow, ends trimmed
- ½ tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggplant
- 1 litre rice bran oil
- 75 g (½ cup) plain flour
- 75 g cornflour
- 175-200 ml sparkling water
- 1 head purple witlof or radicchio, leaves separated
- 1 bunch baby carrots, trimmed and scrubbed or washed
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Wash the beetroot and trim the stems off to about 1 cm (reserve the stems and leaves to use raw or blanched in salads, if you like). Place the beetroots on a large piece of foil and drizzle with the vinegar, honey and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and add the thyme sprigs. Wrap up tightly and then wrap in another sheet of foil so they’re well sealed. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Drizzle a little olive oil in the base of a small, shallow ovenproof dish or bowl and place the brie on top. Drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, then scatter with the coriander seeds to form a crust on top. Bake the brie for 15 minutes or until oozy, but still holding its shape. Scatter with the rose petals just before serving.
Meanwhile, to make the zucchini salad, place the pepitas in a dry frying pan over medium heat, shaking occasionally for 2-3 minutes or until they puff up. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together in a bowl. Using a wide vegetable peeler (also known as a speed peeler), shave the zucchini lengthways to make ribbons. Add to the lemon dressing, season to taste and toss to combine well. Place on the serving platter and scatter with the pepitas just before serving.
To make the eggplant tempura, slice the eggplant into 1 cm-thick slices. Heat the oil in a saucepan or wok over medium heat to 170ºC. Whisk the flour and cornflour together in a bowl. Whisk in half the sparkling water, then gently add the remaining water, being careful not to beat too hard or you will knock the bubbles out. Working in small batches, dip the eggplant slices into the batter, allowing the excess to drain off, then fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Drain briefly on paper towel, season lightly with salt, then transfer to a wire rack while you cook the remainder.
To serve, place the baked brie in the centre of the platter with the zucchini salad, roasted beetroot, eggplant tempura and crudité and eat immediately.