1 eggplant (Aubergine)
olive oil for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup (1/2 oz/15 g) chopped fresh chives
3 cloves garlic minced
Balsamic vinegar for sprinkling
Leaves from 12 fresh thyme sprigs, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
7 oz (220g) fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
Cut off and discard a thin slice from both ends of the eggplant. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices ¼ inch (6mm) thick.
Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill (barbecue), or preheat a rigid stove-top grill pan until very hot. Brush the eggplant slices lightly on one side with olive oil, then place them, oiled side down, on the grill in a single layer. Grill (barbecue) until the eggplant begins to soften and the grill marks are clearly visible. Brush the tops with additional oil, turn, and continue grilling for about 4 minutes, or until soft but not to deeply browned. As the eggplant slices are done, use tongs to transfer them to a large, warmed platter.
Arrange half of the slices in a single layer on another platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter half each of the chives and garlic evenly over the slices and sprinkle with a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle all the thyme evenly over the top. Add the remaining eggplant slices to the platter, again in a single layer, and scatter the remaining chives and garlic over the top. Sprinkle with a little more vinegar. Let stand in a cool place for at least 2 hours, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
To serve, carefully spread each eggplant slice with an equal portion of the goat cheese and role into a tight roll. Secure with a toothpick. Serve at room temperature.