Among my arsenal of “secret” ingredients is pomegranate molasses, a Middle Eastern condiment that’s made by boiling pomegranate juice until it becomes thick and syrupy. It has an intriguing, sweet-tart taste and deep, dark treacly consistency.
I saw this recipe for muhammara in the very first issue of Saveur magazine, 16 years ago (!). It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I first made it but I guess that makes the recipe a true classic in my file.
The recipe that oringinally appeared in the magazine came from Paula Wolfert’s The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. I’ve tweaked it a bit over the years, and it’s turned into something I make instead of the ubiquitous hummus when I want to serve a snack or appetizer.
Muhammarra – Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread
- 2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
- 2 slices rustic bread, torn into pieces
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (found in ethnic, specialty & some grocery stores)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Place peppers, bread, garlic and walnuts in a food processor workbowl and process for about 1 minute, scraping down sides once.
- Add the remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth, another minute or two. Taste and season with additional salt and lemon juice if needed.