2 medium sized, round, purple eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
6-8 large, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
3-5 tablespoons olive oil
100 g soft goat’s cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
Place the eggplants directly over a medium high flame on a gas stove or barbecue and “grill” until tender and completely charred on all sides. Transfer to a board, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the pulp, discarding the charred skin.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and oregano and cook until the onion is soft. Add the eggplant, tomatoes and stock and season with salt, pepper and the cayenne. Simmer, partially covered for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, purée the basil in a food processor with enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Add the goat’s cheese and crushed garlic and process until smooth. Season and set aside.
When the soup is ready, purée in the food processor and return to the pot. Check the seasoning and just heat through. Ladle into individual soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of the basil paste. Serve with slices of grilled ciabatta bread. Serves 6