Roasted red pepper spread

 Inspired by both muhammara & ajvar

Muhammara is an aromatic pepper dip found all around the middle-east. Traditionally, its made from hot red peppers, garlic, pomegranate molasses and walnuts, as well as plenty of olive oil. The spices used vary by geography but the most common ones used are cumin, paprika, zaatar and sumac.  Ajvar, a dip from the balkans,  is very similar, being made with roasted peppers, garlic, eggplant and sometimes tomatoes. Ajvar is usually quite mild, but it can also be hot if made with spicier peppers, a tradition seen most frequently in the south of Serbia. The major difference between the two dips is that muhammara has a very strong flavor while ajvar is creamier and sweeter. I like both, so I decided to combine them, nix most of the spices and create a dip that’s right in the middle – smokey, spicy, sweet and slightly sour. It’s good on bruschetta as an appetizer, delicious as a sauce on pasta and sometimes, I’ll be honest, I even eat it straight out the jar.

Ingredients:

1 small jar of sweet roasted peppers or about 7 roasted and peeled long peppers

3 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or lemon juice

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tbsp pepper paste

3 tbsp (or more if needed) breadcrumbs

1 cup toasted walnuts

3 tbsp olive oil (I used sundried-tomato infused olive oil)

How to:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processer
  2. Whiz until creamy, adding more honey or pomegranate molasses if needed, as well as more breadcrumbs if dip is too runny
  3. Pour dip into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and keep in the fridge
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