Saturday, February 1, 2014

Another Dip: Roasted Red Pepper & Walnuts

This is one of my favorite dips. It's a bit unusual and it is rather addictive. You'll be roasting red peppers just so you enjoy this dip on everything. Pomegranate molasses is reduced pomegranate juice. If you can't find it, you can use more lemon juice but it's definitely tastier with the molasses for its sweet and tangy flavor. You can find it in Middle Eastern markets, and supermarkets with a good selection of ethnic foods. You can use it to make this pomegranate vinaigrette, delicious on main dish salads featuring grilled meats.

Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip (Muhamara)
(makes 1 ½ cups)

3 red bell peppers, roasted - find out how, peeled and seeded
¾ cup chopped walnuts plus a little more for garnish, toasted and cooled
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs or wheat cracker crumbs
½ Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses (or more lemon juice)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
a pinch of sugar (or more if you are using just lemon juice)
1 Tablespoon olive oil plus more for garnish
a few drops of hot sauce

Grind up the walnuts, crumbs, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, salt, and sugar in a food processor until smooth. Pat the red peppers dry, chop roughly and add to the food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. With the processor running, drizzle in the olive oil. If it is really thick, add a Tablespoon or so of water. Season with hot sauce and more salt, if needed. Garnish with additional olive and some toasted chopped walnuts, if you want to pretty it up. Serve with wedges of pita bread, pita chips, or crackers.

The flavor improves as it sits, so make it a day or a few hours ahead for the best flavor.

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