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Tray-baked lamb with aubergines, tomatoes, olives, garlic and mint oil
A summery take on a classic lamb roast
“Perk up a nice roast lamb with beautifully fresh Mediterranean flavours ”
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Criss-cross the fat on the lamb – this will help it render and become nice and crisp. Place to one side.
Slice your aubergines crossways into 2.5cm/1 inch thick pieces and cut your tomatoes in half. Lightly brush your aubergine slices all over with extra virgin olive oil, then fry on both sides in a non-stick pan to give them just a little colour. Remove the aubergines from the pan and place on one side of a clean roasting tray. Put your halved tomatoes 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 non-stick pan until lightly golden on all sides. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then place the lamb skin-side up next to your aubergines and tomatoes and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes to retain a little pinkness – but you can always cook it to suit your taste. Add the olives to the roasting tray for the last 5 minutes 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 pestle and mortar 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.
When you buy your racks of lamb, ask your butcher to ‘French-trim’ them, which means that all the bones are scraped clean – this looks nice and pretty and it cooks easier as well.