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    Roasted Eggplant & Feta Dip

    This roasted eggplant and feta dip gets a kick from a fresh chile pepper and cayenne pepper. There are countless variations on this classic meze (appetizer) in Greece. Out-of-season eggplant or eggplant that has been heavily watered often has an abundance of seeds, which make the vegetable bitter. Be sure to taste the dip before you serve it; if it’s a touch bitter, you can remedy that with a little sugar. Serve with toasted pita crisps or as a sandwich spread.

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
    • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 small chile pepper, such as jalapeño, seeded and minced optional
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • Pinch of sugar, optional

    Instructions

    Step 1
    Position oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat broiler.
    Step 2
    Line a baking pan with foil. Place eggplant in the pan and poke a few holes all over it to vent steam. Broil the eggplant, turning with tongs every 5 minutes, until the skin is charred and a knife inserted into the dense flesh near the stem goes in easily, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board until cool enough to handle.
    Step 3
    Put lemon juice in a medium bowl. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and scrape the flesh into the bowl, tossing with the lemon juice to help prevent discoloring. Add oil and stir with a fork until the oil is absorbed. (It should be a little chunky.) Stir in feta, onion, bell pepper, chile pepper (if using), basil, parsley, cayenne and salt. Taste and add sugar if needed.

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