Every summer, I like to have a "go-to" dish that I can take to cookouts and picnics. Ideally it is something that's a bit different and holds well in the hot weather. This year it's been a dip called Muhamarra, which I discovered on Camilla Saulsbury's blog, Enlightened Cooking.
The original recipe called for jarred red peppers, but I prefer to roast my own. (Wegmans often has a great deal on red peppers -- a bag of six big ones for $4.99.) The easiest way in the summer is for my husband to toss them on the grill when he's grilling something, and turn them every so often until the skin is mostly charred. Then I put them in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. When they are cool, I peel them, get rid of the seeds, and chop.
The first time I made the dip, I found the 4 cloves of raw garlic in the original recipe to be too pungent. The second time, I blanched two cloves of garlic and it just right for my taste. The third time, I used jarred minced garlic and the garlicky flavor was nowhere to be found. Trust me, use the real stuff.
(P.S. I'm so excited ... this is on Photograzing!)
Muhammara (Syrian Red Pepper-Walnut Dip/Spread)
Adapted from this recipe on the Enlightened Cooking blog
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 large red bell peppers, roasted and peeled (or 1 12-ounce jar)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bring small saucepan of water to a boil. Skewer the 2 cloves of garlic and lower into water. Boil about 45 seconds. Immediately put under cold water to stop the cooking. Peel and coarsely chop.
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a coarse puree forms. Season with salt to taste. Makes about 2 cups. Keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
I served this with wedges of pita bread. For more serving suggestions, check out the original recipe on Camilla’s blog.