© David Loftus
pan-baked lamb with eggplant, tomatoes, olives, garlic and mint oil
Preheat the oven to 400oF. Criss-cross the fat on the lamb—this will help it render and become nice and crisp. Place to one side.
Slice your eggplant crossways into 1-inch thick pieces and cut your tomatoes in half. Lightly brush your eggplant slices all over with extra virgin olive oil, then fry on both sides in a nonstick pan to give them just a little color. Remove the eggplant from the pan and place on one side of a clean roasting pan. Put your halved toma- toes and whole garlic cloves beside them and sprinkle with a little oregano and seasoning. You could always rip a little fresh basil or marjoram over the tomatoes as well.
Season the lamb and fry in your nonstick pan until lightly golden on all sides. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then place the lamb skin-side up next to your eggplant and tomatoes and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes to retain a little pink- ness—but you can always cook it to suit your taste. Add the olives a few minutes before the end of cooking, just so they warm through. Remove from the oven and allow the lamb to rest for 5 minutes.
Now make some fantastic mint oil. Put the mint into either a mortar and pestle or a blender with a pinch each of salt and sugar, and blitz up until smooth. Add a couple of tablespoons of good red wine vinegar and loosen with 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste and tweak with a little vinegar if need be. This is a fantastic sauce that is great drizzled over your veg and lamb. I like to cut my lamb in half between the ribs and then divide each half into 3 or 4 cutlets. There’s always an extra rib, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else gets more meat than you.
• 2 x 7-rib racks of lamb, preferably organic, French-trimmed
• 2 firm eggplants
• 8 ripe plum tomatoes
• extra virgin olive oil
• 8 cloves of garlic, skin left on
• dried oregano
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• optional: fresh basil or marjoram
• 1 handful of pitted black olives
• 1 large handful of fresh mint
• a pinch of sugar
• good red wine vinegar