Mar 7, 2014

Ajvar

Ajvar

This is one of my most recent discoveries; Ajvar. It’s a Serbian roasted red pepper, eggplant and garlic condiment and it is to die for! Sweet and slightly smoky because of the chipotle chili powder I add, this spread ranks high in my seriously good food list. Traditionally it’s prepared over a wood fire, which definitely enhances the flavour and makes it more authentic, but for this recipe I kept it basic and stuck to my oven.

You can use Ajvar as a dipping sauce, slap it on sandwiches, add it to pasta dishes, mix some with mayonnaise, add a nice scoop to your salad dressing, or be like me and scoop some on top of a slice of French bread with cream cheese. Really, the sky is the limit.

But you should especially serve some during your next BBQ. Heck, just casually whip it up during the BBQ. You’ll get rave reviews, mark my words!

There are different preparation techniques but here’s my no-nonsense version; just combine the (roasted) ingredients in your food processor and turn them into a spread. Want an even thicker, mellower spread? No problem, just transfer the Ajvar from the food processor to a saucepan and simmer over low heat for roughly 20 to 30 minutes.

 

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers
1 medium eggplant
3 garlic cloves in their skin
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt or 1/2 tsp regular salt
2 tsp white vinegar

Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

 

Directions: 

Wash and dry the peppers and eggplant. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem and seeds.
Ajvar

Slice the eggplant in half and brush the cut-side with some oil. I completely forgot to do that.
Ajvar

Place everything, cut-side down, on a roasting tray.
Ajvar

Add the garlic cloves as well. Brush them with a little olive oil first.
Ajvar

 
Roast the vegetables in a preheated oven at 180Cº (355Fº) until the peppers are blistered and the eggplant is all soft. This should take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes.
 

Once they’re done you place the peppers in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let the eggplant cool off for a few minutes.
Ajvar

See, that’s why you shouldn’t forget to brush them with a bit of olive oil. Learn from my mistakes, people!
Ajvar

 
Not that it really made a difference. I just like to get all dramatic.
 

Scoop the flesh out of the eggplant skin and transfer it to your food processor, squeeze the roasted garlic in there, too.
Ajvar

The peppers should be really easy to peel now. Remove as much blackened skin as you can, but don’t fret over a few specks, it will add flavour.
Ajvar

Transfer the bell pepper to the food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
Ajvar

Just blitz until you have a vegetable spread. I like to really puree mine, but you can leave it a little chunkier, too.
Ajvar

 
Let it cool off and dive in! Or finely chop some onion (2 tbsp or so), sauté the onion in olive oil, add the pepper spread and simmer it for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat while stirring often. This will make it taste even more amazing!
 

Fresh roasted vegetables are love. Pure love.
Ajvar

Ajvar
Ingredients
    4 red bell peppers
    1 medium eggplant
    3 garlic cloves in their skin
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1 tsp kosher salt or 1/2 tsp regular salt
    2 tsp white vinegar

    Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

Directions
    Wash and dry the peppers and eggplant. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stem and seeds. Slice the eggplant in half and brush the cut-side with some oil. Place everything, cut-side down, on a roasting tray along with the garlic cloves that you brush with oil as well. Roast the vegetables in a preheated oven at 180Cº (355Fº) until the peppers are blistered and the eggplant is all soft. This should take anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes. Once they’re done you place the peppers in a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let the eggplant cool off for a few minutes.

    Scoop the flesh out of the eggplant skin and transfer it to your food processor, squeeze the roasted garlic in there, too. Peel the peppers and add them along with the remaining ingredients. Blitz until you have a vegetable spread. I like to really puree mine, but you can leave it a little chunkier, too. Let it cool off and dive in! Or finely chop some onion (1 or 2 tbsp), sauté the onion in olive oil, add the pepper spread and simmer it for 20 to 30 minutes over low heat while stirring often.

Meal type: Condiment, Sauce
Servings: Roughly 1 cup
Copyright: © kayotickitchen.com

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    11 Comments »

    1. 1

      Dear Kay, you had me staring for a minute or two at my screen, when I saw a very familiar word appear on your blog. Is it possible, is she really talking about ajvar or am I just dreaming (or is someone playing a stupid prank on me)?
      You are absolutely right, ajvar is a wonderful thing and here in Serbia it is considered a staple – no decent Serbian house spends a winter without a stock of it. Although nowadays you can buy the ready-made thing in supermarkets, the majority of us prepare their own batches in early autumn, store it jars and then enjoy the rest of the winter (sometime in September, everywhere you go, you can smell the roasted peppers).
      Just a few serving suggestions from me – try mixing it with some cream cheese or fry it with some eggs – these are quite usual ways of serving it, especially in southern Serbia where I come from

      Ana on Mar 7, 2014 @ 12:50 pm Reply
      1. I’m addicted to it and so are my guys! I especially love it on top of crusty French bread with cream cheese :)

        Kay on Mar 7, 2014 @ 1:26 pm Reply
    2. 2

      I see this transformed into a soup.  I am not a lover of eggplant, but disguised in a puree is something that appeals to my taste buds!  Thanks.

      Karen U on Mar 7, 2014 @ 3:47 pm Reply
      1. That’s definitely doable! Add lots of tomato… I’m sure it will be mindblowing!

        Kay on Mar 7, 2014 @ 5:46 pm Reply
    3. 3

      Beautiful and tasty post! I may have to try ajvar! I lived in Romania for several year and Romanians have similar spread called zacusca. It’s phenomenal and can be made with any number of roasted veggies. My favorite use of zacusca in a very non-Romanian way was to make grilled zacusca and cheese sandwiches.  Also, if you’re a garlic fan, check out mujdei.  I love how in Eastern Europe, food revolves around seasons and storage for future use!

      Veronica on Mar 7, 2014 @ 4:11 pm Reply
      1. Thanks you!

        Never heard of Zacusa, so I googled it… it indeed looks very much the same.  I like the idea of adding onion!

        Kay on Mar 11, 2014 @ 2:43 pm Reply
    4. 4

      I love ajvar! Never made it myself, but definitly gonna try this recipe!

      Km on Mar 9, 2014 @ 3:42 am Reply
    5. 5

      Just discovered your site – I know, where have I been, right?  Anyway, I love your recipes and photos – beautiful!

      Wanda on Mar 10, 2014 @ 4:29 am Reply
      1. Thank you :)

        Kay on Mar 11, 2014 @ 8:13 am Reply
    6. 6

      This sounds so good!

      Kevin @ Closet Cooking on Mar 19, 2014 @ 2:06 am Reply
    7. 7

      I put this on some salmon last night. Thanks!

      Alison on Apr 5, 2014 @ 10:20 pm Reply

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