Saturday, June 7, 2014

Muhummara Dip Most Delightful

A new appetizer dip or spread has come onto my horizons. Some months ago I saw it on TV, and sounded intriguing. I wrote down the main components and set it aside to research another day. Well, today is that day. I came upon the scribbled list of ingredients and went looking. I like to look at a wide range of recipes and then cull from all of them the ingredients I like best. I decided I liked the recipe from Maureen Abood's blog Rose Water & Orange Blossoms, and I did not change much. The mixture sounded really good and had great reviews. 
Muhummara in the forefront; behind: Green Pea, Feta & Mint Spread

Muhummara, according to Maureen Abood is pronounced moo-HUM-ara. I am glad she cleared that up because while I don't believe I had ever pronounced it aloud, I had been pronouncing it mentally as Moo-hum-MA-ra. According to Wikipedia, Muhummara means "reddened". Due to the peppers, this dip / spread / marinade / basting sauce is definitely red; well, deep red-orange, at least. It supposedly originated in Aleppo, Syria, but appears to be known and used in some form all around that area of the Mediterranean. 

I happen to love roasted red peppers and walnuts, the two main ingredients in this dip, so today I made it to serve to my friend Deb who was coming by for lunch. For the most part, Deb and I have exceedingly similar taste in foods, despite the fact she is a staunch vegetarian and I am not. She is a wonderful taste tester for anything meatless that I make. It's almost not really fair to go by her judgement as our tastes are so alike. It is good to have others taste things and give commentary, criticism or whatever, just to see if I can broaden the audience. Regardless, the Muhummara was extraordinarily good. 

Any recipe I looked at called for some kind of red pepper flakes or other hot chili. I do not have Aleppo Pepper flakes at home, so I used cayenne in small amount. Aleppo pepper, coming from the same place as Muhummara, seems to be the most likely type of red pepper to use in this recipe. I will be looking at getting some Aleppo pepper soon. I made a second dip / spread, my Green Pea, Feta and Mint Spread. I have made this in past when Deb has come to visit, and knew this was already a keeper. Serving the two of them was certainly a most colorful lunch. Truly, they are both equally good, too, in different ways. I served little toasted breads and pita bread triangles to go with these two dips / spreads. They were both great accompaniments. This is what I did, certainly not too different from Maureen Abood's Lebanese recipe.


makes about 2 cups

12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained (from a 16-ounce jar)
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (or hot chili flakes, to taste)
4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Set walnuts on a baking sheet and place in oven for about 10 minutes, until nicely toasted. Remove from oven and turn out onto a plate to cool. 

In a dry skillet on medium heat, toast the panko until most of the crumbs are light to medium brown. Remove them to a plate to cool.

With a mortar & pestle, mash together the garlic and salt until it is a fine paste. Add the lemon juice to mix up all the garlic goodness.

Drain the roasted red peppers and place them in the food processor with the walnuts, pomegranate molasses, garlic and lemon mixture, black pepper and cayenne. Process until it is well broken down. Add the panko crumbs and process. At this point the mixture is well-thickened; add in the 4 tablespoons of olive oil until smooth. 

Serve with pita triangles, toast points or crackers. Use over meats as a condiment.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.