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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This dish is my whole-foods version of Muhammara, the Middle Eastern dip. I have omitted the bread crumbs because the raw nuts are enough to achieve a rich and thick consistency. I chose pecans because their slightly-sweet flavor pairs so well with the slightly-sweet flavor of roasted red peppers, but other raw nuts can be used instead. (Walnuts are used in the traditional recipe.)

I like to roast the peppers in advance, whenever my oven is already on, and store them in the fridge until I'm read to make the dip. Doing that single step ahead means I can mix it up in minutes. I always add any roasted pepper juices that have accumulated in the storage container to the dip.

2 large red bell peppers, about 1.5 cups roasted peppers roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw pecans
1 to 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (concentrated pomegranate juice)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
Sea salt to taste
Ground peppercorn to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste (optional)

Preheat the broiler. Halve and seed the peppers. Turn them cut-side down on a baking sheet and place under the broiler until blackened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Cover and set aside to steam and cool. Once cool, slide the skins off the peppers and discard. Disregard any small pieces of skin that remain because the peppers will be puréed. Do not rinse the roasted peppers.

Add the roasted peppers and any juices to a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Purée until smooth and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Serve immediately or transfer to an air-tight container and store in the fridge for future use.

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