Today’s Spotlight is shining on Greg Cook and his recipe for Muhammara, a Middle Eastern Roasted Red Pepper Dip.
Greg’s recipe is more involved than a typical party dip, but it’s clear to see from the ingredients being used that this dip is full of flavor. Greg has also provided helpful information about where to find some of the more specific ingredients, and what to use as substitutes if those items aren’t available.
We like this dip because it’s unique, healthy and big on flavor. Also, in fairness, Tony and I love anything with roasted red peppers. And he sent a picture, too. We love that.
Thank you for sharing your recipe with us, Greg, and GOOD LUCK!
Greg Cook’s Muhammara
This recipe makes about 2 cups of dip. Freezes well. Best made a day ahead of serving.
5 medium to large red bell peppers
1 1/3 cup walnut halves
1 cup unsalted shelled cashews
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp smoked salt – (or regular salt with some smoked paprika)
1/4 tsp ground chile powder or more, to taste. You can use whatever pepper you like (cayenne, ancho, etc.)
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp olive or walnut oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or you could use balsamic vinegar)
Roast the red peppers under a broiler or on the stove over a flame until the skins are blackened. Place the peppers in a bowl covered with plastic wrap until cool. The steam helps the skin to separate. Peel and deseed the peppers. Alternatively you can use jarred roasted red peppers from the grocery store.
In a heated skillet, toast the walnuts, cashews and cumin seed until they begin to give off their aromas and become very fragrant. Shake the pan gently and be careful not to scorch the nuts. Let cool.
In a food processor, combine the roasted peppers with the toasted nuts, cumin and the rest of the ingredients. Purée until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Pomegranate molasses can be found in ethnic stores that carry Middle Eastern products. The Asian markets often carry Middle Eastern supplies. Balsamic vinegar can be substituted but I find that makes it a bit too sour. Sometimes I have substituted a Tbsp of a fruit jam mixed with a Tbsp of balsamic vinegar if I didn’t have the pomegranate.
I usually use smoked paprika instead of smoked salt as it’s easier to find. And it tastes great.
Muhammara can be served with fresh vegetables – cucumber slices are very nice. Can be served with bread, lavash or pita bread. Pita chips are also nice with this dip.