SAUCE: Olive Oil, Garlic, and Jalapeno Sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lemon, juice of
1 jalapeno, finely chopped, remove ribs and seeds if you need it to be more mild
1 to 2 teaspoons sumac
Make the garlic, jalapeno and olive oil sauce. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon juice, garlic, and jalapeno. Add a pinch of kosher salt and set aside (the lemon and olive oil will tame the hot peppers and the pungent taste of garlic)When ready, heat a gas grill or an indoor griddle over medium-high and lightly oil the grates. Make sure the grill is fully heated before adding the eggplant.
Brush the eggplant slices on one side with olive oil.
Arrange the eggplant on the heated grill, oiled side down first. Grill anywhere for 3 to 4 minutes on this side or until some char marks form on the bottom, then turn over and brush the other side of the eggplant with olive oil. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the eggplant is tender and good char marks have formed on both sides.
Arrange the grilled eggplant on a large platter and immediately season with sumac and drizzle the olive oil and jalapeno mixture all over. Add the plate of feta and warmed pita bread for serving.
TO SERVE: (Optional) WHIPPED FETA
8 ounces block quality feta, drained
¾ cup Greek yogurt
1 lemon zest
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or red pepper flakes (to your taste)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2-3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, optional
1-2 tablespoons crushed pistachios, optional
In the bowl of a large food processor fitted with a blade, combine the feta, Greek yogurt and lemon zest. Blend, and while the processor is running, drizzle olive oil through the top opening, until the feta is whipped to a smooth mixture.
Transfer the whipped feta to a serving plate. With the back of your spoon, smooth the top of the feta, making an indentation in the middle (or a “well”). Pour a bit of olive oil all over the feta, then top with the Aleppo pepper, fresh herbs, and nuts.
Serve with pita chips or pita wedges.