These Middle Eastern stuffed eggplants with lamb and pine nuts fried in an aromatic spice mix are really delicious.
Roast the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F. Cut the eggplant in half length ways. Score the flesh diagonally to create a diamond pattern, stopping before the blade reaches the skin. Drizzle over the olive oil, then scatter over the salt. Place cut side up in a metal roasting tray. Transfer to the oven and bake until the flesh is gooey and lightly browned – about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Make the lamb stuffing. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to low. Stir in the pine nuts, tomato purée, Arabic seven spice mix and salt. Use your hands to crumble in the mince. Gently fry until the meat is lightly browned all over – about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, breaking up any large clumps of mince. Expect a fair amount of liquid to be released after a few minutes, at which point you can increase the heat to medium-high. Once browned, turn off the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
Stuff & bake the eggplants. Use a metal spoon to scoop out most of the flesh from the baked eggplants, leaving a 1cm or so perimeter around the skin. Place the flesh into a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork. Tip the eggplant mash into the lamb mix, and stir until evenly mixed. Spoon into the eggplant shells, pressing down with the back of the spoon if you need to compact the mixture. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, until a nice brown crust forms on top.
Gently transfer each eggplant onto a plate using a fish slice (they can be quite fragile), and serve hot.