Just a few fresh ingredients, simply cooked, make a warmly satisfying meal. Eggplants and shallots, whose flavours intensify with roasting, make perfect partners for tender, succulent lamb. Serve with warm, crusty bread.
Mix 1 tablespoon of the oil with the vinegar and lightly brush this marinade over both sides of the fillets. Crush the peppercorns and add the cumin seeds. Sprinkle the mixture over the fillets, pat it in gently and then place the fillets in a non-metallic dish. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Put the shallots in a large, heatproof bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave for 2-3 minutes, then drain. Peel off the skins, then return them to the bowl.
Trim the ends from the eggplants and cut them into 2.5 cm chunks. Add these to the shallots. Drizzle the remaining oil over the vegetables. Add the crushed garlic, then toss to lightly coat the vegetables with oil.
Heat a large, heavy-based roasting pan over a medium'high heat on the stove. Sear the fillets for about 1 minute on each side, then remove and set aside in the original marinade dish.
Tip the vegetables into the hot pan and spread them out. Place in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until softened. Lay the lamb fillets over the vegetables and drizzle any juices left in the dish over the lamb. Return to the oven to roast for 10 minutes.
Scatter the tomatoes into the pan and return to the oven for a further 8-10 minutes until the lamb is cooked to your liking and the vegetables are tender. Season to taste and serve sprinkled with chopped cilantro.
Cook's tip: You can prepare all the ingredients up until the end of step 4 a day ahead of time and keep, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring all the ingredients to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking and preheat the roasting pan in the oven for about 10 minutes.
Variation: For a vegetarian version, use cheese instead of lamb fillets. First roast the eggplant and shallot mixture, sprinkled with cumin seeds, for 25-30 minutes, turning once, then scatter with the tomatoes and roast for a further 5 minutes. Finally, top with 250 grams (1⁄2 lb) thinly sliced mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Scatter with olives or pine nuts.
Each serving: 30 g protein, 22 g fat of which 5.5 g saturates, 8 g carbohydrate, 5.5 g fibre, 360 Calories