Ajvar Spread

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READY IN: 1hr 30mins
SERVES: 6-8
UNITS: US

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition
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DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to broil. Halve each pepper, discarding stems and seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, on an old baking sheet or one lined with foil.
  • Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and score with a knife, drizzle it with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and a little salt and place it on a second baking sheet.
  • Place one of the oven racks roughly 3 to 4 inches below the heat; place peppers on this rack. The eggplant should sit on a lower rack.
  • Broil the peppers and eggplant, turning the peppers occasionally until they are well roasted on all sides, roughly 15 to 20 minutes. The eggplant may be done first; if so, remove it and set it aside to cool. (You can also use an outdoor grill to cook the peppers and eggplant.).
  • When you remove the peppers from the oven, place them in a bowl, sprinkle them with a little water, and cover with a clean dishcloth. This step steams and lifts the skins, making it easy to peel the peppers once they've cooled. (Another method to loosen skins is to place the peppers in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap until the peppers have cooled.).
  • Use an ice-cream scoop to remove the pulp of the eggplant, leaving the skin behind. Discard the thickest seeds, but don't get nit-picky. Put eggplant in a food processor with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 or 4 smashed garlic cloves. Pulse the eggplant a few times so that it's chopped with the other ingredients but not totally pureed. Remove the eggplant to a serving bowl.
  • Once peppers are cool enough to handle, peel them with your fingers or a knife. Add peppers to the food processor and pulse 5 to 8 times to chop coarsely. Mix the peppers with the eggplant puree, season to taste with salt, pepper, a splash of vinegar and a shake of dried chili flakes, if you like. Smooth the surface of the ajvar with a spatula.
  • If you wish, garnish it with more finely diced garlic and a few scattered basil leaves. Serve ajvar with toasted bread slices drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.
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