Recently we've seen a surge of interest in our Mediterranean cooking class. In addition to containing unusual and delightful flavor combinations, many of these dishes are particularly enjoyable when it's hot outside and add an exotic compliment to grilled meats. One dish that's a home run in summertime is Muhammara - a red pepper and walnut dip that originated in Aleppo, Syria, and is popular throughout Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq.
Originally, this dish was made with Aleppo peppers which, due to civil war in Syria, are very hard to come by these days. Our version calls for roasted red peppers, and you can up the spiciness by adding Marash or Antebi pepper if you can find them - these mimic the mellow, fruity heat of Aleppo peppers.
1 cup roasted red peppers (These can be freshly roasted, frozen, or from a jar)
½ cup walnuts
1 cup bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or Marash or Antebi pepper)
Drain red peppers if necessary. Lightly toast walnuts in a pan or oven, being careful not to burn them.
In a food processor, add red peppers, walnuts, bread crumbs, minced garlic, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, pepper flakes and about 1 teaspoon of salt.
Start the food processor on medium speed and slowly drizzle in 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Add more salt to taste if necessary.
When ready to serve, transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil and garnish with walnuts, mint leaves, or pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm pita or as a sauce with grilled lamb.