For the Roasted Eggplant and Feta Fritters:
- 2 large eggplants
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
- Oil, for frying
For the Tahini Sauce:
- 1/2 cup tahini sesame seed paste
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water, plus more as needed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds, and/or chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the eggplants all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast until soft and puckered, about 40 minutes. Allow the eggplants to cool before handling.
- As the eggplants cool, prepare the tahini sauce. Combine the tahini paste, water, garlic, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add water as needed. Transfer to a sealabe container and set aside until ready to use.
- Scoop out the eggplant flesh and place it in the food processor. Discard the eggplant skins and stems. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley, shallot, lemon pepper, cumin and salt to the eggplant and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Add the feta cheese, breadcrumbs, and sesame seeds to the food processor and pulse until evenly distributed.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Liberally coat a large sauté pan with oil and heat over medium-high. When the oil starts to shimmer, use an ice cream scoop to scoop mounds of the eggplant mixture and drop them gently into the pan. The mixture will be very soft.
- Gently flatten the top of the mounds just slightly. Cook until the bottom has crisped, then flip and flatten. Continue to cook until browned, about another 2 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel lined plate and repeat until all of the fritters are cooked. Serve with the tahini and toppings of your choice.