This recipe makes six, which can be served with other stuffed vegetables or as a garnish for a roast leg of lamb.
6 small roundaubergines weighing 60g (2oz) each, or 3 weighing 150g (5¼oz) each
100g (3½oz) large black olives
6anchovy fillets preserved in olive oil
1clove of garlic, chopped
It is most important to use stainless steel, silver or enamel implements whenever you are dealing with aubergines as they have a strong tendency to blacken when they come in contact with other metals.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Mark 6. Pull off (do not use a knife) the green rosettes from the ends of the aubergines. If you have six small aubergines, cut a thin slice, lengthways, from each. Cut round the flesh with a small knife and scoop out the pieces with a teaspoon. Take great care not to pierce the skin, which should be about ½ cm (¼ inch) thick. If you have three larger aubergines, cut them in half, lengthways, and remove the flesh in the same way. Arrange the empty shells in an oven-dish, salt them on the inside and sprinkle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Spread the flesh of the aubergines on a second oven-dish.
Bake the empty skins for 15 minutes and the flesh for 30 minutes. Remove the dishes, but do not turn off the oven, which will be needed – at the same temperature – for the final cooking process.
While the aubergines are cooking, stone the olives and chop them finely. Put them in a large bowl.
Heat 1tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying-pan. Add the anchovy fillets and crush them lightly with a fork. When you have a smooth purée, add it to the olives in the bowl.
When the flesh of the aubergine is cooked, crush it lightly with a fork and add to the bowl, together with the chopped garlic and thyme. Mix everything together well, season with salt and pepper if you think it necessary.
Pile the mixture into the aubergine shells, pressing it down with a fork, and heat through in a hot oven.