Food for Thought
Aleppo-Style Red Pepper and Peanut Dip
Muhammara is a hot-pepper dip that originated in Aleppo, Syria, and is also found in Levantine and Turkish cuisines. Other “meze” (small bites) cousins from this region include tabbouleh, hummus and baba ghanoush; they can be traced to the cuisine of the Ottoman Empire.
With a nod to the consistently positive research reported about the health benefits of peanuts, the walnuts traditionally called for in this dish have been swapped out for the versatile, protein-packed legume.
Use as a dip with whole-grain pita, or spread on wraps and sandwiches.
1 1⁄2 lb red bell peppers
1⁄2 C peanuts, toasted and ground
3 T quality breadcrumbs or sesame cracker crumbs
juice of 1 lemon (or more to taste)
4 t pomegranate molasses (preferably Cortas brand, found at Middle Eastern grocers)
1⁄4 t red chili paste (or more to taste)
1⁄4 t salt
1⁄4 t cumin, ground
1 T refined peanut oil
C = cup | lb = pound | T = tablespoon | t = teaspoon
Roast the peppers over gas or under the broiler, turning until blackened and blistered all over. Place in a bag to soften for 10 minutes, to loosen the skins. Slit the peppers open and remove the membranes, stems and seeds. Skin and leave to drain.
Meanwhile, combine the peanuts and breadcrumbs in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the bell peppers, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses and blend until creamy. Add the chili paste, adjust the seasoning and scrape into a 2-cup storage jar. Chill overnight to allow flavors to mellow.
When ready to serve, scrape dip into a serving dish. Decorate with ground cumin and a drizzle of oil. Makes six servings.
Recipe provided by The Culinary Institute of America as an industry service to The Peanut Institute.