Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Pepper Party Dip

We went to a splendid 60th birthday party for a friend in Sonoma. I made three dips: Green Olive Tapanade (August 10, 2009 blog), North African Hummus (August 10, 2009 blog), and this Red Pepper one.  And served them with crackers and toasted naan (you could use pita too).

 Red Pepper, Walnut, and Pomegranate Dip (Muhammara)

3 large or 4 medium red bell peppers
¼ teaspoon smoky hot paprika or 1 red bird’s eye chili, deseeded and chopped or a touch of cayenne
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1¼ cups walnuts
1/3 cup lightly toasted fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ teaspoon sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon hot water (I omitted)
¼ cup olive oil (I omitted)

1. Roast the bell peppers under the broiler (or whatever way you find most convenient) until they are nicely charred on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin, remove the stalks, seeds, and white membranes. Don’t rinse.
2. Place the well-drained peppers in a food processor with all the other ingredients, except for the water and olive oil. Process to a rough paste, scraping down the sides at least once. I find that the consistency is just fine without adding the water and oil. But if you want to add the oil, pour it in a slow steady stream and blend until the mixture is thick and creamy. If you don’t want to add the oil, blend the mixture until it is thick and creamy. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
3. Allow the mixture to cool and then refrigerate. Before serving, check the seasoning and adjust as needed. Serve with warm Arabic bread, pita, naan, crackers, or smear onto toasted slices of French bread.

6-8 servings as part of a mezze selection
Adapted from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s Saha: A chef’s journey through Lebanon and Syria

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