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Dietary cookery

Baked summer vegetables

2 medium aubergines (about 350 g/12 oz)
sea salt
2 green bell peppers, roasted and skinned
1 large onion, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
6 large ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced, juices reserved
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons dried oregano
5 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper to taste
450 g/1 lb new potatoes
450 g/1 lb courgettes, cut into 6 mm/1/4 inch slices
5 tablespoons hot water
40 g/11/2 oz lightly toasted fresh bread crumbs
50 g/2 oz grated kasseri or parmesan cheese
For serving
Juice of 1 large lemon

1. Trim the ends from the aubergines and cut into 4 cm/11/2 inch cubes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and set aside in a colander to "sweat" for 30 minutes. Slice the tops off the peppers, discard the cores and seeds, rinse off any remaining seeds, and cut lengthways into 6 mm/1/4 inch strips.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large heavy saute pan and cook the onion over medium-low heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes and their juices, honey, cumin, rigani, half the parsley, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes, or until reduced by about one third, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
3. Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Place a second large heavy saute pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil. Thoroughly dry the aubergines with paper towels and fry until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Drain between layers of paper towels.
4. Peel the potatoes and cut into 6 mm/1/4 inch slices. Arrange them in the bottom of a deep heavy baking dish. Combine the aubergines, pepper, and courgettes and spread over the potatoes. Pour over the sauce, remaining olive oil, and the hot water, firmly shake the dish to distribute the sauce, cover, and bake 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and bake 20 minutes longer. Stir the vegetables, taking care not to break the potatoes, and bake uncovered 25 minutes longer or until the potatoes are just tender.
5. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper if desired. Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle over the vegetables; with the back of a spoon gently press down on the vegetables so a little of the juices reaches the bread crumbs. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the lemon juice, pepper, and the remaining parsley. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. 
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