Muhammara

By John Becker and Megan Scott
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YIELDS
1 CUP

Ingredients

Dip:

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, or 1/2 tablespoon honey and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red or Aleppo pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

To serve:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chopped toasted walnuts
  • Warm pita bread

Olive oil flatbread crackers:

  • 1-3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Topping:

  • Up to 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs per piece of dough
  • Up to 3 tablespoons seeds per piece of dough
  • Up to 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or Asiago per piece of dough
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt per piece of dough

Directions

  1. Roast red bell peppers, then transfer to a paper bag and let cool. Peel off the charred skin and discard. Remove the stems and seeds.
  2. In a food processor, combine the peppers, walnuts, olive oil, bread crumbs, pomegranate molasses, garlic, pepper flakes, cumin, and salt.
  3. Process until smooth. 
  4. Serve in a wide, shallow bowl, topped with olive oil, chopped toasted walnuts, and with a warm pita.

Olive oil flatbread crackers:

  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add water and olive oil, then stir until a rough dough forms. Knead briefly on a work surface until it comes together in a smooth ball. Let rest for ten minutes. 
  3. Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll each piece into a ball. Let rest another ten minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 F and place a heavy baking sheet, baking stone or cast-iron pizza pan on the middle oven rack. Flatten out one piece of dough on a sheet of parchment paper, then top with a second parchment sheet. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough as thinly as possible into an irregular, organic shape. Because the parchment tends to get bunched up, after each time you roll, peel off the top parchment, reposition it, flip the whole arrangement, then peel off the back parchment, reposition it, and continue rolling. The dough should be very thin. Remove the top piece of parchment.
  4. Sprinkle on any of the following, or a combination: dried herbs, seeds, Parmesan or Asiago, and flaky sea salt. Press the toppings into the dough. Slide the dough (still on the bottom piece of parchment) onto the hot baking sheet, stone, or pizza pan and bake until the cracker is light to deep golden brown, five to eight minutes. It will bubble in spots, and the color will be somewhat irregular. Repeat this with the remaining pieces of dough. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve whole, for your guests to break apart, or break the crackers into piece.

 

Exerpted from the 2019 edition of Joy of Cooking with permission from Scribner/Simon & Schuster Canada. All rights reserved.

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