Baked Eggplant with Parsley Pesto

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1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 medium shallot
a large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper
4 small eggplants, cut in half lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Make the pesto: Place the garlic, and shallot in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a paste. Add the parsley, about 1/4 cup of olive oil, and a little salt and a more generous amount of black pepper. Pulse a few times until everything is just blended and not yet becoming a purée.

With a thin, sharp knife, score the eggplants through the flesh in a large diamond pattern, cutting about halfway down (be careful not to cut into the skin). Spread a generous amount of the pesto on each eggplant, working it down into the cuts. Place them on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake until they're lightly browned and tender, about 1/2 hour (depending on the size of the eggplants).

You can serve these hot, but the flavors may be more vibrant if you eat them at room temperature.

Serves 4 or 5 as a side dish

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