By all means set up a retro trestle table under your 200-year-old olive tree and eat this heavenly starter/lunch against a sound-track of chirruping cicadas. I've enjoyed it many times under my frost-burned magnolia and a very busy Heathrow Airport flight path. The perfect match is a Provence rosé, with lots of grenache in it.
Into a large roasting tin, arrange a mixture of red and yellow peppers, thickly sliced courgettes, fanned
aubergines and some baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved if large. Season, anoint generously with olive oil and
tuck in a few bay-leaves. Roast in a moderately hot oven (190°C/Gas 5) for about 40 minutes until soft and
yielding. Peel, de-seed and slice or tear up the peppers and detach the aubergine slices from their stem.
Put on four plates and dress while warm with a squeeze of lemon juice. They should be oily enough. Scatter with fresh basil or thyme and leave to come down to room temperature.
Scale and pin-bone 4 fillets of red mullet or bream, or 8 butterflied sardines. Brush with oil, season well and grill skin-side up until almost blackened (3-4 minutes for the sardines, 6-8 for the mullet). Peel off the skin and break the fish into bite sized chunks, or if they are tiddlers, leave whole. Serve atop the vegetable salad.
Janet Wynne Evans