As Nadia Roden was growing up, her mother prepared eggplants in so many ways—frying them, roasting them, stuffing them. This salad is one of Nadia's favorites. More Terrific Salads
Preheat the oven to 500°. Put the eggplants on a large rimmed baking sheet and prick them in a few places with a knife. Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 1 hour, or until blackened and soft. Scoop the flesh out of the skins, discard most of the seeds and finely chop the flesh. Drain in a colander, pressing lightly to extract as much moisture as possible.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the tomatoes, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and saucy, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the eggplants, tomato sauce, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, cumin, paprika and cayenne and season with salt. Spread the eggplant salad on a large serving plate. Scatter the olives on top and serve.
The salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.