Friday, February 06, 2009

Lamb, potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables

I made a simple, easy dinner for the family. Grilled lamb loin chops with lemon and rosemary, baked jacket potatoes, and a salad of grilled eggplant, capsicum, oregano and mushroom. Kind of Greek, kind of Provencal, kind of northern European... but really yum, and great for a warm evening, especially outdoors.

For the vegetables

  • 1 huge red capsicum
  • About 3 medium-sized mushrooms per person
  • 2 mini eggplants per person
  • A splash of olive oil
  • Handful of fresh oregano

For the rest

  • Lamb loin chops, trimmed
  • Scrubbed plain potatoes
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 220C. Prick potatoes and bake for up to 2 hours, lowering heat if the skins are getting too crisp.

Trim eggplants and halve them lengthwise. If you have used normal (big) eggplant, slice it into rings, put them in a colander, salt liberally, and leave for half an hour, rinsing before use. Otherwise, mini eggplant won't need salting.

Meanwhile, slice the capsicum into thick strips. Grill the strips under the oven grill, skin side up, until black and cratery all over. Try to have no red parts left. Put the grilled strips into a plastic container with a lid and seal them up for about 10-15 minutes. This loosens the skin and finishes cooking the underside of the capsicum. Peel the skin off and discard. You might then want to halve each strip lengthwise, or leave as they are. Arrange on large flat plate.

Heat a cast-iron pan, either flat or ridged. Add olive oil, and eggplant, cut side down, and mushrooms, thickly sliced. Cook over medium heat for up to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until eggplant is well-coloured, soft and charred and mushrooms are soft. Take mushrooms out early if they start to lose their juice. Arrange vegetables with capsicum.

Using same pan, wipe over with paper towel, and grill lamb over high heat until done to your liking. Turn off heat. Squeeze juice of half the lemon over lamb in pan. Slice other half of lemon into rings. Arrange lamb in a serving dish with lemon rings, and fresh rosemary sprinked over.

Retrieve potatoes from their fiery storage facility and tumble them into a bowl. Season and serve.

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