A Twist On Muhammara!
A twist on what? Muhammara is a Syrian Roasted Red Pepper Spread, popular throughout the Middle East. It is thickened with bread crumbs and toasted walnuts. It’s excellent alone on crackers, grilled pita or toast points, but is also very good spread over chicken breasts and baked. It would also be excellent as a dip along side of a lamb kebab. Traditionally Muhammara is made with Pomegranate Molasses, but I did not use it in this recipe…that’s the twist!
2 red peppers, roasted*
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts**
1 Tbsp. vinegar. I used Rice wine vinegar, but any vinegar is good.
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne, more if you like it hotter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup olive oil
* Place peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet under broiler. Roast all sides until blackened. Remove from oven and seal the foil around the peppers. Allow them to cool and then remove blackened skin and seeds.
** To roast the walnuts, heat a small heavy bottomed frying pan (no oil) to medium high. Add the nuts and stir every couple of minutes for about 5-7 minutes until nuts deepen in color. Because of the high fat content, nuts burn quickly so watch them carefully.
Puree roasted peppers, bread crumbs, toasted walnuts, vinegar, cumin, cayenne, and salt in a food processor until almost smooth.
With motor running, add the oil until you have a thick spread, but not so thick that it is paste-like. Chill covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Bring to room temp before serving.
CHEDDAR CHEESE ROUNDS
Here’s another very 80’s hors d’oeuvres that I made recently for my Friday afternoon card group. I have grown to truly enjoy our Friday afternoon Canasta game, which is always accompanied by yummy snacks, good wine, hearty laughs and lots of love.
6 oz., about 1 1/2 cups finely grated Cheddar. I used Irish Kerry Gold, Reserve Cheddar.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 Tbsp. finely chopped sweet onion. I didn’t have a sweet onion, like Vidalia, so just used a yellow onion, diced very finely.
12 slices good quality bread, such as Brioche
3/4 cup (6 Tbsp.) butter, softened
5 Tbsp. pine nuts, roasted
Salt/Pepper to taste
Chives for garnish
Next time I would use more chives, but my chives got a little nipped from an early frost so I didn’t have that many left.
Stir together Cheddar, mayonnaise, onion and salt and pepper to taste. I bought the Brioche from my local grocery store bakery and it was delicious. Cut rounds of bread using a cookie cutter. Spread softened butter on top of each round of bread. Divide Cheddar/mayo mixture evenly between the rounds of bread. Garnish with roasted pine nuts and chives. These are super rich, but very tasty.
Both of these recipes came from my recipe collection; 30+ years worth of clipping recipes from Gourmet, Food and Wine, Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated, and more. I believe these both came from Gourmet, circa 1980’s!
THAT’S IT FOR TODAY!
I CAN’T BELIVE WE ARE INTO NOVEMBER AND MY HIUSBAND’S BIRTHDAY IS JUST A WEEK AND A HALF AWAY. WE ALWAYS CONSIDER NOVEMBER 13TH THE KICK-OFF TO THE HOLIDAYS SO LOTS OF COOKING AND ENTERTAINING AHEAD!
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