Roasted Eggplant and Feta Dip
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup crumbled feta cheese, preferably Greek
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small chile pepper, such as jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar (optional)
1. Position Oven Rack about 6 inches from the heat source; preheat boiler.
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.
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.
*Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.