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Red Pepper, Pomegranate and Walnut Dip
Makes about 3 cups
2 1/2 lb red bell peppers
1 small hot chili, such as Fresno or hot Hungarian, or substitute Turkish red pepper paste to taste
1 1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) walnuts, coarsely ground
1/2 cup wheat crackers, crumbled
1 Tb lemon juice
2 Tb pomegranate molasses or more to taste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
2 Tb olive oil
2 tsp toasted pine nuts
A drizzle of olive oil
  A good pinch of ground cumin

For best results, make the recipe at least one day in advance. Roast the red bell peppers and the chili either over coals or a gas burner or under an electric broiler, turning frequently until blackened and blistered all over, about 12 minutes. Place in a covered bowl to steam 10 minutes (this loosens the skin). Rub off the skins, membranes, and seeds. Spread the bell peppers, smooth side up, on a paper towel and let drain 10 minutes.

In a food processor, grind the walnuts, crackers, lemon juice, molasses, cumin, salt, and sugar until smooth. Add the bell peppers; process until pureed and creamy. With the machine on, add the oil in a thin stream. Add the chili to taste. (If the paste is too thick, thin with 1-2 Tb water.) Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mellow. When ready to serve transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle the pine nuts and cumin on top and drizzle with oil.


©Paula Wolfert
The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean

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