The word ajvar is probably a word that many of us have never heard of before. It is a word that I bring to you today, and it is a word of Serbian decent. I am not too certain where I came across the name ajvar, but it did catch my attention when I began reading more about it. I have been having an itch lately to make some baba ghanoush, which is basically a Lebanese dish made with eggplant and olive oil. Maybe it was my recent making of garlic naan that had me craving this type of delicious dip, or condiment, if you will. Whatever the case, ajvar might possibly be your next favorite condiment to put on a sandwich.
Ajvar is very simple to make. It is basically red bell peppers, eggplant, a bit of garlic and lemon, and just like that you have a wonderful, lightly spicy and fresh condiment.
- 2 large eggplants
- 3 large red bell peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp paprika (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
Simple ingredients. Begin by roasting the red bell peppers and the eggplants, either on a hot grill, or in the oven on high heat. The goal is blacken all of the skin on both the eggplants and the peppers. This process takes about 25 minutes. Once the skins are blackened, place them in a ziplock bag, or paper bag, and let them rest for about another 10 minutes. What happens when the vegetables are sealed in the bag, is that they begin to steam and allow you to easily remove the thicker skins on both vegetables.
Once the vegetables are slightly cooled, remove the skins off of all vegetables as well as their stems. Add the eggplant to a food processor. Before adding the red bell peppers, make sure you remove the seeds from them.
Next, toss in the remaining ingredients and begin pulsing the mixture down until it is nice and smooth. If you want more texture in your ajvar, by all means pulse it down to your desired consistency. Me? I like it nice and smooth.
Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan, and bring it to medium heat, covered, and cook for about one hour on a simmer. Let cool.
Once your ajvar is cooled, pour into storage containers, and when you are ready to eat, simply spread on bread such as naan, or heck, even some nice crostini. First bite, and you will understand how delicious this condiment is. The big question is why are we learning about how awesome ajvar is today?
Hope you enjoy.