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
about 4 cups
For the eggplant
medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
minced garlic cloves
For the spread
red bell peppers or a combination of red and yellow ( if you can find fresh paprikas certainly use them )
heaping tablespoon diced serrano or jalapeno pepper
cloves garlic, minced
dried sweet paprika powder
plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
The roasted eggplant cubes
Additional salt and olive oil for adjustment, if necessary
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
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.
I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining.
My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!