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Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Ten years ago I was lucky to travel to Egypt and Jordan with my husband. We stayed outside of Amman in a town called Madaba before heading south to Petra. The food was extraordinary, especially Fatta, a multi-layered dish with toasted pita, yogurt and various fillings. On the way to visit Jerash, I was delighted by the vendors serving steaming hot coffee in plastic cups on the side of the road. I also fell in love with textiles and it seemed that all of my favorites were from Syria. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I missed the opportunity to visit Syria before the devastating war that continues with no end in sight. This recipe calls for Aleppo pepper, which is named after the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Mild and bursting with flavor with a hint of saltiness and a slight raisin flavor, Aleppo pepper is an important spice in your kitchen. This recipe uses one large parchment lined baking sheet making for easy cleanup. Peel the peppers before roasting them. I remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. Yes, it’s one more step but worth the effort!

Red Pepper Walnut Dip

Preheat the oven to 3o0˚

In a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with the Meyer lemon oil.

Place bread cubes on a parchment lined 13” x 18” baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cubes begin to lightly brown. Cool until room temperature. Add to a food processor and pulse until coarse. Place in a lidded glass container until ready to use. Note – You will only need 1 – 2 tbsp of lemon breadcumbs for
this recipe

Turn the oven temperature up to 350˚

Place the chopped red pepper on the parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add the walnuts  and scallions to the baking sheet. Continue to cook for 7-10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Reserve 1 tbsp of the toasted walnut for garnish.

Combine the roasted red pepper, walnuts, scallions, pomegranate molasses, Aleppo pepper, cumin and salt in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil at a time until a smooth purée is formed. Add 1 tbsp of lemon bread crumbs and pulse until combined. Add more breadcrumbs, if necessary, until desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust salt, if desired. Scrape into a serving bowl. Make an indent in the center of the red pepper dip with the back of a spoon.

Pour the walnut oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and Aleppo  pepper and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Spoon into the center of the red pepper dip. Garnish with chopped toasted walnuts. Serve with pita bread.

 

makes about 1½ cups

LEMON BREADCRUMBS

  • 5 slices ciabatta bread, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tbsp Meyer lemon olive oil

DIP

  • 2 cups peeled and chopped red peppers, about 2 large or 3 medium peppers
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 scallions, coarsely chopped, white and light green parts
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon breadcrumbs, as needed

GARLIC CHILE OIL

  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper

GARNISH

  • 1 tbsp toasted chopped walnuts

FOR SERVING

  • Pita bread