Pasta with Olive Oil and Fresh Herbs

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3 large purple eggplants (about 3 1/2 pounds)
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 large red onion, very thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh basil, slivered

Wash eggplants and cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices. Salt slices lightly on both sides and leave on glass platter or tray for up to 1 hour to release their excess water . Pat slices dry between paper towels, squeezing gently. Mince or press garlic cloves and stir into olive oil . Brush eggplant slices lightly on both sides with garlic oil and grill over hot coals until charred in spots and tender throughout.

In large glass or ceramic dish, arrange half the eggplant slices close together in one layer. Prick them with a fork, sprinkle them with about half the balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper them lightly. Scatter half the onion slices and half the slivered basil over them. Repeat with remaining eggplant and other ingredients. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature or a couple of hours or in refrigerator if longer.

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