Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
This is a traditional Syrian dip called muhammara. There it would be served as part of a meze selection, with hoummus, baba ganoush, pickles, olives, cheese and flatbreads. It's perfect for entertaining as it benefits from being made a day in advance.
3 large red bell peppers
1 slice of day-old sourdough bread, cut into small pieces
3 1⁄2 oz. walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon dried chilli/hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to serve
chopped pistachios, to sprinkle
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
toasted flatbread, roughly torn, to serve
Cook the bell peppers one at a time by skewering each one on a fork and holding it directly over a gas flame for 10–15 minutes, until the skin is blackened all over. Alternatively, put them on a baking sheet and then in an oven preheated to 425°. Cook them for about 10–15 minutes, until the skin has puffed up and blackened all over. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a dish towel and leave until cool enough to handle.
Using your hands, remove the skin and seeds from the bell peppers and tear the flesh into pieces. (Avoid rinsing with water, as this will remove the smoky flavor.) Put it in a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process to a coarse paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Cover with cling film/plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or ideally overnight to allow the flavors to fully develop.
To serve, bring the dip to room temperature and transfer it to a shallow bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve with torn toasted flatbreads. It will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4–5 days.
Credit: Easy Party Food. $19.95, Ryland Peters and Small
Photo credit: Ryland Peters & Small