This is an incredibly versatile dish which could be served as a vegetarian main course (flatbreads to accompany perhaps), a side dish to serve with roast lamb or chicken or use the vegetables as fillings for grilled panini or quesadillas. Any which way, it is delicious and while the vegetables take a bit of time to roast (one layer is imperative to avoid sog) it is really easy to put together-if you can slice and turn on an oven you can make this. Black rice vinegar is widely available online and in oriental supermarkets. You could use sherry vinegar but it doesn’t quite have the intriguing tang of the black vinegar.
- 1 large banana (echalion) shallot, peeled and finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons black rice vinegar (see intro)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 aubergines, trimmed and sliced into 1cm thick rounds
- 570g (about 3 large) courgettes, trimmed and cut into 1cm thick rounds
- Smoked Maldon salt –or ordinary Maldon
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- For the whipped feta
- 150g feta cheese, crumbled
- 150g plain yogurt
- ½ garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- Aleppo pepper (optional)
- Put the shallot in a small bowl and add a pinch of salt. Pour over the vinegar and leave for at least one hour.
- Meanwhile heat the oven to fan 200˚c, mark 6. Pour three tablespoons of the olive oil into a large mixing bowl and add the aubergine slices. Toss to coat the aubergine and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment (use two trays if yours are small). Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the aubergines are golden brown. Turn the slices over and roast for a further 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a flat serving dish and leave at room temperature.
- Pour the remaining three tablespoons of oil into the bowl and add the courgette slices. Season well with salt and ground black pepper and arrange over the baking tray in one layer. Roast for about 20-25 minutes until light golden. Arrange the courgettes and any residual oil over the aubergines. Spoon the pickled shallots-with the vinegar over the courgettes.
- For the whipped feta: put the feta cheese, yogurt and garlic into a jug and blend until smooth with a stick blender. If you don’t have a stick blender you can blend the ingredients in the small bowl of a food processor. Drizzle half the sauce over the vegetables and scatter over the parsley and mint and Aleppo pepper if using. Serve the remaining sauce in a bowl to dip in flatbreads or to spoon more over the vegetables.