If only the large, egg-shaped eggplant is available, split it and cut it into slices crosswise. Otherwise, split the small elongated variety, place the halves, split side down, on the chopping board, and cut each, leaving the slices attached at the stem end, into
Pour the olive oil into a bowl and, the moment the artichoke quarters are pared, turn them around in the oil, coating them to protect them from contact with air. Force them and the olives (first rinsed) into the crevices or hollows left by the eggplant fans, fit in the bay fragments here and there, scatter the remaining onion and garlic over the surface, and sprinkle with the mixed herbs, salt, and pepper. Press everything into place to form as nearly regular surface as possible, and dribble the oil left over from the artichokes over the entire surface, adding a bit more, if necessary. Bake for about 1½ hours, a sheet of aluminum foil placed loosely over the surface, starting with a 450° oven and turning it down to about 350° after 10 minutes or so. When done, the stem ends of the eggplant should be perfectly soft to the touch. Serve as an hors d’oeuvre, either tepid or cold (but not chilled), sprinkled, if you like, with chopped parsley or fresh basil leaves torn into small fragments.