1 Rinse eggplant, wipe dry and halve lengthwise. Score flesh with a sharp knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Place on a baking sheet, cut side up.
2 Drizzle olive oil sparingly over the eggplant.
3 Rinse thyme and shake dry. Season eggplant with salt and pepper and distribute thyme over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (fan 180°C, gas: mark 2-3) (approximately 400°F/convection 350°F), about 40 minutes.
4 Let eggplant cool slightly, then remove thyme. With a spoon, scoop out the flesh.
5 Finely chop eggplant pulp and place in a bowl. Juice lemon. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the eggplant pulp and season with salt and pepper.
6 Rinse basil, shake dry and pluck leaves. Chop finely and mix well with eggplant.
7 Halve garlic. Cut bread into 1 cm (1/2-inch) thick slices. Rub with garlic.
8 Heat a grill pan (or skillet) over medium heat. Cook bread until brown and crispy on both sides.
9 Top the toasted bread slices with eggplant. Garnish with coarse sea salt and extra basil leaves. Serve bruschetta immediately.