I don't know how I went so many years without even hearing of muhammara
but when I found it on a vegetable antipasto at my favorite local restaurant,
it was love at first bite.
Muhammara is a Middle Eastern dip but I've used it in sandwiches of grilled eggplant,
in quesadillas, or mixed in to a little pasta. It's versatile. If I were to describe it to
someone who's never had it, I would say it's like a sweet red pepper pesto.
When time allows, I like to do everything from scratch but I've added a few shortcuts in red
that will allow you to whip this up in a few minutes with things can keep in your pantry.
Ingedients (Quick-n-Easy alternative in red)
1 cup walnuts, toasted (toasting optional to save time)
3 sweet red peppers, roasted (or use one 12-oz. bottle roasted red peppers)
2/3 cup plain bread crumbs (or throw one piece pita bread in food processor)
3 cloves garlic
3 T. fresh lemon juice (don't you dare use the fake stuff)
1 T. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 T. pomegranate molasses* (2 T. pomegranate juice, optional)
3 T. olive oil
Extra olive oil, moroccan black olives and spring of mint for garnish
* See recipe for pomegranate molasses below
Brush peppers with oil and roast in 400 F. oven. Roast about 30-35 minutes,
flipping once or twice so they brown evenly. When tender and collapsed, set aside
to cool. Remove stems, seeds and skin.
On another baking sheet, toast the walnuts for about 7 minutes.
Watch them closely; they burn quickly! Set aside to cool.
1 16-oz. bottle of pomegranate juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 lemon juice
Heat pomegranate juice to boiling. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Add lemon juice and reduce heat to a simmer.
Simmer until liquid is reduced to about one cup.
Remove from heat and cool.
Extra molasses can be stored in a glass jar in fridge for a few months.
In a food processor, start with the walnuts, bread and dry ingredients to make sure
they're well integrated. Add the peppers and wet ingredients and puree until smooth.
Use a spatula to push ingredients down a few times
End with the olive oil and add one tablespoon at a time. You may not need all the liquid
and it's a great place to cut on calories if you want to.
Can be served immediately or stored in refrigerator for a few days.
Garnish with moroccan black olives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Serve with any kind of bread. I love toasted pita points because there's
something satisfying about eating something with a little crunch.