This tangy, nutty spread is a staple appetizer at every gathering of my family. The crisp peppers and soft nuts create an additive texture. Add more or less spice to your taste. For the best flavor, make this a day ahead. This recipe is adapted from my family's cookbook, A Taste of Syria
-- Michele Kayal
- 2 pounds fresh red bell peppers, seeded, washed and cut into quarters
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 1/2 6-inch loaves of Syrian bread, split in half and toasted until crisp, then chopped medium-fine
- 2 cups shelled walnuts, chopped medium-fine
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup pomegranate molasses*
Using a food processor, pulse the red peppers until medium-fine. Add salt and pulse again briefly to mix. Pour the mixture into a colander and let drain. Let sit about 15 minutes, pressing occasionally on the mixture to squeeze more juice.
Meanwhile, use the food processor to chop the bread. Pour the bread into a medium bowl. Pulse the walnuts in the processor until medium-fine. Add to the bowl with the bread and mix well.
In the processor or in a bowl with a whisk, combine the cayenne, olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses into a dressing. Squeeze the chopped red pepper one more time in the colander, then add to the bread-and-nut mixture. Mix well with a rubber spatula. Add about half the dressing and stir well. Add enough dressing to moisten the mixture, but not to drown it. Set aside leftover dressing to use on salad.
Place the dip in a bowl and serve with wedges of Syrian bread.
*Pomegranate molasses can be found at Middle Eastern markets, gourmet stores and online.