Continuing on my Yotam Ottolenghi dinner for my friends, I think my favorite dish, though there were many, was this Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip.Jump to Recipe
There was so much flavor in this dip. I really like red peppers. They have such good flavor. When they are roasted the sweetness comes out as well. There are so many good flavors and spices in this appetizer. There a couple of kinds of dried chilies. There is ALEPPO PEPPER – a pepper named after its origin in Aleppo, Syria. It is a burgundy chili with a mild level of spiciness. There is also cumin, corriander and ground red pepper flakes. I think you get the idea.
One of the other dishes that I served as an appetizer and a side at the dinner was Yotam’s smashed cucumber salad. I love pickles and this was a unique dish (for those of us in the US). This salad combined Persian cucumbers, sumac pickled onions and parsley. These pickles were the perfect compliment to the MIDDLE EASTERN BRAISED ROAST LAMB that I served as the main course.
The dish is pretty easy to assemble. It is amazing how much flavor it packs. It begins with roasting the red peppers onions and garlic. Tomato paste is caramelized in a saute pan. Cumin and coriander seeds are roasted and then grinded to a powder. The dish is topped off with pomegranate molasses and parsley to bring it together.
Some of the base ingredients.
The developing of the muhammara.
The Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip plated
Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip
A Middle Eastern appetizer that has so much flavor and easy to make. My Muhammara – Roasted Red Pepper Dip is a real winner.
- 5 Whole Red Bell Peppers
- 1 Whole White onion rough chop
- 2 Whole Plum or Roma tomatoes
- 1 Whole Dried ancho chili
- 10 Whole Dried kashmiri chilies
- 5 Tbsp Olive oil divided
- 2 Tsp Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Tomato paste
- 2 Tsp 'Cumin seeds (or powder)
- 2 Tsp Coriander seeds
- 8 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 Whole Pomegranate – seeded
- 1 Tbsp Parsley chopped
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Add the peppers, onion, tomatoes to a baking tray. Toss with 3 tablespoons of oil, ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 tsp of the black pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add in the garlic and cook for another 20 minutes. When done, remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skins as possible from the peppers and tomatoes.
While the vegetables are in the oven, add boiling water to a bowl and steep the dried chilies. Also, add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a small frying pan set over medium heat. Once warm, add the tomato paste and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Be sure to stir it so it does not burn. You will know you are done when the tomato paste has a deep red color. Set asideto cool.
In another pan, add the cumin and coriander seeds to a small pan and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently. This should take 1 to 2 minutes until there aroma is released. Remove the spices and blend in a spicer.
Next, add the peeled roasted vegetables, the caramelized tomato paste, the ground spices,1 tbsp of pomegranate molasses,½ teaspoon of salt, and a good grind of pepper to a food processor. Pulse until you get a chunky, salsa like consistency. Pour into a bowl and stir inthe pomegranate seeds.
To serve, transfer the muhammara to a serving plate. Garnish with the more pomegranate seeds and the parsley. Finish by drizzling the remaining pomegranate molasses and some good olive oil. Enjoy!