3tablespoonsextra virgin olive oilplus more for rubbing eggplant
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
For the Crispy Chick Peas
1 15ozcan chick peasdrained and rinsed
1/4cupextra virgin olive oil
Tomato Cucumber Salad
1cupcherry or grape tomatoeshalved
1cupdiced English cucumber
1/4small red onionthinly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
2tablespoonsfresh minttorn, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1teaspoonsumacplus more for garnish (optional)
Prepare the Lamb Chops
Combine the first 10 ingredients in a zip top bag, then add the lamb chops and toss to coat. Press out as much air as possible, seal the bag and place in the refrigerator. Allow the lamb to marinate for at least 4 hours, or up to 12. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature at least 20 minutes before grilling.
Make the Eggplant Puree
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and prick the eggplant all over with a fork, then rub with oil. Place on a sheet pan and roast until it can be easily pierced with a knife without resistence, about 30-45 minutes depending on size. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then remove the skin and stem and place in a food processor. Add the olive oil, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, then puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Make the Crispy Chick Peas
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the chick peas out on to several towels and gently pat dry. You want to be sure to remove as much moisture as possible to ensure they turn out crispy. Pour the olive oil into a medium-large cast iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, right before smoking, add the chick peas and shake the pan vigorously for about one minute. Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, shaking and tossing them every so often to ensure even cooking. Remove from the oven and use a slotted spoon to transfer the chick peas to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt while still hot, and set aside.
Make the Tomato Cucumber Salad
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, red onion, lemon juice, mint, salt, pepper, and sumac. Toss until combined, taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then set aside.
Grill the Lamb
Preheat a clean, well oiled grill to medium high heat. Remove the lamb chops from the marinade and allow any excess to drain off. Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Cook time will ultimately depend on the size and thickness of your chops. Remove from the grill once done to your liking, and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Spoon the eggplant puree on to a large platter or individual plates, the top with the lamb chops. Spoon the tomato cucumber salad over top and sprinkle with crispy chick peas. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint and a dusting of sumac if desired. Serve immediately.