It’s been a rainy, cold spring here in Bern, Switzerland, and so I haven’t moved on to eating my vegetables in cold liquid form (gazpacho!) yet. Cruising the market today, I noticed some lovely, deep purple, shiny eggplants and decided it was a roasted vegetable afternoon. My market has a nice special, where you can fill a bag of veggies for about 9 CHF ($9), which is absurdly expensive for vegetables if you live anywhere but Switzerland, but a great deal if you call Bern home. I filled my bag and went to check out the half-price meat: two lamb racks (about 12 tiny chops)! Score! I built the meal around the eggplants and the lamb.
Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables & Lamb
- 2 whole eggplants cut into 1" cubes
- 1 medium celery root cut into 1" cubes, or substitute turnips or parsnips, or potatoes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 whole zucchini cut into 1" cubes
- 3 medium tomatoes quartered
- 1 can artichoke hearts in water, not vinegar or oil
- 1/2 lb mushrooms halved
- 1 head garlic peel the loose paper, but leave the rest of the skin on
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oregano fresh, chopped fine; if you use dried oregano use a 1/2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped fine
- 2 t fresh sage chopped fine
- 1/4 lb feta cheese crumbled
- 2 lbs rack of lamb
- 1 t garlic powder
- 4 tbsp Harissa I prefer the green paste, but red will do.
- 1 cup yogurt I prefer Turkish or homemade yogurt.
- Preheat the ovent to 350F (170 C). Grease or lay a teflon sheet down in a roasting pan. (I use the broiling pan lined with a teflon sheet.)
- Spread the eggplant and celery root (or other root veggies) on the tray. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over them, sprinkle with salt and toss until they are well coated. Roast for an hour. The vegetables should be cooked, starting to brown a bit, and caramelized slightly. Turn the first batch of veggies into a bowl or crock pot where they will stay barely warm (but make sure they don't cook more). Don't cover them with anything but a towel, because the steam will make them soggy.
- Dump the rest of the veggies into the tray and again toss with 2 tablespoons of oil. The garlic will cook in this batch, too. Make sure the remaining paper is well coated with oil. Again, roast for about an hour and add to the bowl. Then add the fresh herbs to the bowl along with the black pepper. Toss again. Sprinkle the crumbled feta on the top. Cover again with the towel.
- Coat the lamb in the olive oil remaining in the roasting pan and then sprinkle it with salt and garlic powder. Roast for between 40 minutes to an hour, until it is as rare or well-done as you like.
- Toss the feta into the slightly-more-than-room-temperature veggies, slice the lamb and serve. I put a dollop of yogurt on the veggies and about 2 T of harissa paste near the lamb, for dipping.