We often roast the vegetables in the wood-fired oven and they become even more delicious and smoky. But even in the conventional oven, with the addition of some pimenton –the Spanish smoked pepper– if you like, this is a glorious and extremely easy dish to make.
When we were kids, before we had an electric stove with an oven, my mother used to get to our neighborhood’s bakery a pan of mixed vegetables well-doused in olive oil and sprinkled with oregano and other herbs. It was roasted in the communal oven, after the breads were baked, and we collected it just before lunch. Especially practical on summer days when we went swimming, as the baker was left to cook our lunch!
Serve it either warm or at room temperature, preferably with the addition of feta cheese, and fresh, crusty bread! These days we may just roast eggplants and peppers, omitting the potatoes if we want to serve the vegetables with rice or bulgur (see the Variation).
About ½ cup olive oil
1 ½ -2 pounds ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ pounds medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes or six wedges
1 ½ pounds medium onions (red or yellow) each cut into six wedges
3-4 small eggplants, trimmed, quartered, and cut into one-and-a-half-inch chunks
3-4 medium bell peppers, quartered, cored and cut into one-inch pieces
2-3 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fine salt
1 ½ tablespoons Greek oregano
1-3 teaspoon Aleppo or Maras pepper, or ½ teaspoon ground pepper
½-1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped parsley
Feta cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C). Oil a large baking dish such as 13-by-11-by-2-inch (33X28 cm) or an equivalent round or oval pan.
Spread half the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish.
In a large bowl place all the vegetables, the garlic, and half the parsley. Pour in the olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt, oregano, pepper and cumin. Toss very well, so that all the vegetable pieces get oil and spices. Transfer carefully to the pan, over the tomatoes, and even them, pressing with your palm, then lay the remaining tomatoes over the vegetables.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Remove it from the oven; stir carefully to redistribute the vegetables, then bake for another 30 to 40 minutes without disturbing, until their edges start to caramelize.
Sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and serve hot, lukewarm or at room temperature, accompanied by feta cheese, if you like, and of course crusty bread.
VARIATION: Omit the potatoes, and add 1-2 more eggplants and peppers. Bake as above, and sprinkle with pine nuts before serving, if you like.