I didn’t grow up eating much processed food so it is funny that most of my experiences with ajvar came from a jar. Ajvar is a simple roasted red pepper and eggplant dip that according to Wikipedia originated in Serbia although the jars I find at local grocery stores all seem to come from Macedonia. This is one of those multi-purpose foods that goes well with everything – pour it over steamed asparagus, dip your carrots sticks or serve with simple baked fish.
So remember that cool roasted red pepper trick we talked about in the Spanish Pisto recipe? We’re doing the same thing here – roasting the peppers, then letting them sweat in a bag and then peeling them.
I wish I could give you precise directions for roasting the eggplant but oven time can vary dramatically. The good thing is that it is almost impossible to over-cook an eggplant that is in its skin. Not that I’m daring you. I’m not. But I can forget about it in the oven while taking care of other tasks without any problems.
While I don’t believe in hiding vegetables in food, your family is unlikely to know that there is eggplant in this dish. Not that I am suggesting that you lie, but I won’t tell if you won’t.
|Ajvar Sauce|| |
- 4-5 red bell peppers
- 1 medium eggplant
- ¼ c olive oil, plus more for rubbing on vegetables
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450°
- Cut eggplant in half and rub down with olive oil
- Place skin side of eggplant up on a foil lined cookie sheet
- Add whole red peppers to the same cookie sheet and rub in olive oil
- Roast eggplant and peppers until skin is blackened and the flesh is soft, flipping every 10 minutes. Eggplant takes about 20 minutes, about 30 for the peppers
- Remove peppers first and add to a bowl, then cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until you can touch them
- Scoop the flesh from eggplant and reserve
- Uncover the peppers and peel the skin off and then remove the stem and seeds
- Add peppers, eggplant, olive oil, garlic and vinegar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until at desired texture
- Add salt and pepper to taste