Satisfied Cravings: Favorite recipes from cookbooks I've reviewed.

Hot and Sweet Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts and Pomegranates
Makes about 3 cups

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from The Book of Near Eastern Cooking

2 1/2 pounds red bell peppers
1 to 2 small hot chili, such as Fresno or hot Hungarian, or substitute Turkish red pepper past to taste
1 1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely ground (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup wheat crackers, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or more to taste
(Available at Middle Eastern grocery stores )
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts or chopped, peeled, and unsalted pistachios, a good pinch of ground cumin, and a flourish of olive oil for garnish
For best results, make the recipe at least one day in advance.
1. Roast 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; slit the peppers open and remove the stems, membranes, and seeds. Spread the bell peppers, smooth side up, on a paper towel and let drain 0 minutes.
2. In a food processor, grind the walnuts, crackers, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, salt, and sugar until smooth. Add the bell peppers; process until pureed and creamy. With the machine on, add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the chili to taste. (If the paste is too thick, thin with 1 to 2 tablespoons water.) Refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to mellow.
3. When ready to serve, transfer the dip to a serving dish. Sprinkle the pine nuts or pistachios and cumin on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Notes to the cook: To make crisp pita triangles: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Split the pitas into rounds. Cut into triangles, lightly film the insides with olive oil spray, and spread out on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown. Remove from the oven. The pita triangles will crisp when cool.