I’m not normally a fan of miniaturised vegetables, but the in case of baby eggplants I make an unqualified exception. Their size gives them an advantage over fully grown versions because you can roast them quickly while the skins keep them from collapsing into mush.
Cooked this way, with the addition of spices to complement their depth and sweetness, they are a lovely accompaniment to lamb, in particular, or any barbecued meat. They are better eaten closer to room temperature rather than piping hot and, as such, are also a useful building block for a salad – tossed with leaves and perhaps a crumbling of feta. —Paul Hayes
While your oven preheats to 400°F (200°C), drizzle a tablespoon of ordinary olive oil over a baking tray. Sprinkle the coriander, cumin and chilli directly over the oil.
Slice the eggplants in half and place them cut side down into the oil, sliding them about a bit to pick up the flavourings. When the oven is ready, turn the eggplants cut side up and roast for 25 minutes.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over, sprinkle with salt and some chopped parsley and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil just before serving.