I was startled by The Archers omnibus this morning, when William Grundy, gamekeeper to the big estate, failed to shoot either his brother, his father or himself, in a small bedroom with a loaded 12-bore. Crikey, I thought. It’s probably fair to say that Borsetshire’s poachers can sleep easy in their beds at the beginning of this shooting season, as can most of the bunnies – so just in case the pot is half empty here’s a recipe to help fill the gaps and which goes well with some crusty bread to mop up the juice.
I was prompted to pass this on by the fact that at a good lunch and for the second time this weekend, I had a delicious roast Mediterranean vegetable medley awash with good olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs. The addition of some sliced preserved lemon skins added a delicious sharpness to the sweetness of the peppers and tomatoes and a good sprinkling of Pul Biber aka Aleppo Pepper, (mentioned elsewhere) adds a sense of piquancy without scorching the mouth
I use a mixture of whole aubergines (about 2 per four people); whole cherry tomatoes (about 5 per person); cleaned and quartered red and green peppers (1 each per person); Courgettes cut into 1″ rounds; peeled and quartered; Red onions or shallots; 2 crushed, whole unpeeled cloves of garlic per person, fresh thyme, good olive oil and one preserved lemon per 4 people.
Cut the aubergines into rounds and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for an hour in a colander on the draining board to leach the bitterness. After that time wash the salt off and cut into quarters. Cut the preserved lemon in half and with a spoon, scoop out the insides leaving just the skin, and slice that into strips. Throw everything into a roast pan and drizzle olive oil all over it, plus seasoning and the Pul Biber, but don’t be too heavy-handed.
Using your hands, todd everything together to make sure its all covered in oil, seasoning and has been touched by the other flavours. Whack in a pre-heated oven as around 180 for 45 minutes. Pull the pan out and check halfway through to mix it gently together again. As I have yet to meet an oven that cooks accurately judge for yourself whether you need to adjust the timing or temperature, but 180 for 45 should be all right. TASTE TASTE TASTE.
If you are lucky enough to be serving it with meat shot by someone other than whining William, make sure you let the meat rest for 20 minutes – so adjust your cooking time to take account of that.