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Author Notes: Ajvar (pronounced I-vahr) is a thick spread traditionally made with fresh paprikas, eggplant and garlic. It's great slathered on country bread, as a dip for vegetables and pita chips and as an accompaniment to grilled chicken,lamb or fish. I like a few dollops of it on pasta or as a spread for sandwiches. Balkan in its roots, you find variations from Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia. I like to kick mine up with a little serrano or jalapeno and since I have a hard time finding fresh paprikas, I've substituted red and yellow bell pepper. —inpatskitchen
Makes about 4 cups
For the eggplant
- 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Toss all ingredients together, spread out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 350F for 30 minutes, stirring at the half way point. Set aside in a bowl and cool.
For the spread
- 4 red bell peppers or a combination of red and yellow ( if you can find fresh paprikas certainly use them )
- 1 heaping tablespoon diced serrano or jalapeno pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon dried sweet paprika powder
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- The roasted eggplant cubes
- Additional salt and olive oil for adjustment, if necessary
- Roast the peppers either on a stove top or grill using Amanda and Merrill's tutorial as a reference or halve, core and de-seed the peppers and place in a roasting pan skin side up and broil them until the skins blacken and begin to blister. Let cool and then peel the skins.
- Saute the onion in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the tablespoon of paprika until the onion softens a bit and the paprika becomes fragrant.
- Place everything in the bowl of a food processor and process until relatively smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and oil if desired. Chill to let the flavors blend before serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Chili Pepper Recipe
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