By • July 23, 2011 2 Comments

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
  1. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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