Tormented Eggplant

2 medium-sized eggplants
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, minced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
5 to 6 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
toothpicks for securing

Cut the blossom end (opposite to the stem end) off each eggplant. (It is best to cut inwards at an angle, so that the end, when it is removed, resembles a cone. This will help the open end seal better after the eggplant is stuffed.) Using a long, thin sharp knife, carve out most of the flesh from inside each eggplant. Be careful to leave the skins intact (and unpunctured), with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of flesh still attached. These hollowed eggplants form "shells" that will be stuffed later. Set the shells aside and coarsely chop the scooped-out flesh.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the jalapeño peppers, onion, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook until the onion begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, black pepper, oregano, and the chopped eggplant and cook until the eggplant is tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. And the basil and mozzarella cheese and toss together.

Stuff each eggplant shell with the filling. Close the eggplants by replacing the ends, using the toothpicks to hold them in place. Place on a hot grill and adjust the distance from the fire to ensure slow roasting (turning often to expose all sides to the flame) until the eggplant is tender on all side, 30 minutes.

Cut the roasted eggplant crosswise into thick slices and serve them immediately, remembering to remove the toothpicks.

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