When cookbook author Nur Ilkin was little, fresh red bell peppers were available only during the summer. In the winter, her family made this dip with dried Aleppo peppers. It can be served with toasted bread, as part of a mezze or as an accompaniment to raw or cooked vegetables.
Make Ahead: The spread can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Servings: 4 - 6 mezze
- 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted (see NOTE)
- 4 to 5 slices stale (2-day-old) white bread, crusts removed, processed into crumbs and toasted for 3 to 5 minutes in a dry nonstick skillet over medium heat (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
- 4 fire-roasted jarred red bell peppers, chopped (may substitute 4 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped)
- 3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Sea salt
- 4 teaspoons pomegranate syrup (molasses) (may substitute 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice mixed with 2 teaspoons light brown sugar)
- 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Place the toasted walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to the consistency of bread crumbs.
Add the toasted bread crumbs and pulse to incorporate, then add the red bell peppers, garlic, salt to taste, pomegranate syrup, brown sugar and oil. Puree to form a coarse paste.
Transfer to a bowl or container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until ready to serve.
NOTE: Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the skillet to keep the nuts from burning. Let cool completely.
Adapted from "The Turkish Cookbook," by Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman (Interlink, 2010).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.