1½ to 2 lbs eggplant, preferably small
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn (or more, to taste)
Optional seasoning: additional garlic, thyme, coriander, cayenne, parsley …it’s really up to you! :)
Slice eggplant into ½ inch thick slices; halve or quarter the slices (depending on how big the eggplant is; I usually quarter the slices). If time allows, sprinkle the eggplant liberally with salt and let rest in a colander for up to 1 hour; rinse and pat dry.
Put the olive oil and garlic in a large, sauté pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add eggplant slices. Toss (or stir) almost constantly until the eggplant begins to release some of the oil it has absorbed (5-10 minutes). Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very tender and browned around the edges (usually between 20-35 minutes) – it varies quite a bit depending on how ripe/firm the eggplant is, how thick the slices are, etc.
In the final minutes of cooking, salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil, and add any additional seasonings desired.