These eggplant halves look wonderful and are as delicious cold as they are hot, a perfect side dish or vegetarian main course that can be made in advance.
4 medium-sized eggplants
6 ripe plum tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Fine sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Handful of black olives, pitted and halved
Several good splashes of olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice the eggplants in half lengthways.
Using a sharp knife, make diagonal incisions from left to right into the flesh of each eggplant half. You need to cut almost down to the skin, but make sure not to puncture it. Then make diagonal incisions from right to left to create a lattice effect.
In a bowl, mix together the tomatoes, parsley, two or three good pinches of salt, garlic, basil and olives. Then add a splash of olive oil and mix thoroughly.
Spoon the tomato and herb mixture over the eggplants, trying to push some of the sauce into the incisions in the flesh as you do so.
Lay the eggplant halves in a shallow baking dish and pour olive oil around them to the depth of around 1 cm (about 0.4 inches).
Place the dish in the oven for around 45 minutes, until the eggplant flesh is soft through.
Remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle fresh basil over the eggplants, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.