Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Who could eat the pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? Can you say that five times fast? No, I can't either. Neither can I pronounce the name of this gorgeous mix of vegetables: Ajvar.
When I saw the photos of Ajvar here, I knew it was something I would love. I wanted the recipe. I wanted to make this. I wanted to eat it till I had had enough of it. And I have to tell you that took a long time. This is delicious.
I’ve made this several times now. The last time I used three different colors of peppers. It was gorgeous. The colors of Spain. No, that’s not right--the colors of Catalonia. I roasted the peppers and eggplant and added some hot pepper oil that we keep in the cupboard. That’s all. Because I’m still limiting my wheat, I ate this on corn chips. With a salad, it made a lovely lunch.
This would make a very nice appetiser or aperitif for company. It would also be wonderful in a sandwich with some sliced chicken.
Instead of roasting the peppers and eggplant in a hot oven, I roasted them under the grill. I turned it up to “doomsday” and let ‘er rip. The skin on the peppers blistered and lifted up. The eggplant softened. When they were good and blistered (sort of like my skin at the beach) I put them in a paper sack till they had cooled. At that point it was very easy to remove the skin from the peppers. Doing it this way also spared my smoke detector.
I used a hot pepper oil in this because I like hot spicy things. We keep this in the kitchen. It’s easy to make: just crush up some dried chili peppers and put them in some good quality olive oil. Leave it for a few days and voila ! Hot pepper oil.
from Kate in the Kitchen
2-3 bell peppers
1-2 small eggplants
Hot pepper oil
Salt if you must
- Pre-heat the broiler / grill of your oven.
- Cut the peppers in sections, and remove the membranes and seeds. You want these segments to be fairly flat, so that the heat will reach them uniformly.
- Remove the stem cap from the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise. If you have a larger one, you might want to cut it in three or four slices.
- Arrange the veggies on a baking sheet. The eggplants should be cut side up and the peppers should be skin side up. I used a non-stick baking sheet. If you don’t have one, you might want to line it with aluminum foil.
- Slide the veggies under the grill and watch them closely. Mine took between 5 and 10 minutes to be done, depending on when I had remembered to turn on the grill. They’re done when the kitchen smells like heaven and the pepper skins are lifted and blackened.
- Using whatever handy-dandy tong-like apparatus you have, put the veggies in a paper bag and close it up. Yes, they’re hot. Yes, there’s steam. Use the tongs and trust me, ok? Set aside to cool.
- When they’re cool, take the pepper pieces out one at a time and remove the skin with a sharp knife. Usually you can just pull it off, but if the pepper curved under away from the heat you may have to scrape it a little. If it’s really stuck, don’t worry, just leave it. You won’t notice it.
- When all the peppers are cleaned, put them on a big chopping board with the eggplants. Get your favorite big cheffy knife and chop away till it’s the texture you want.
- Put it all in a big bowl and add some pepper oil. Taste and add salt if you want.
Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don't.
- You can spray the cut surface of the eggplant with a little oil, but I found it didn’t make much difference--it got really crispy however I did it.
- This can also be served with crackers or pita, of course.
- This would be awesome on bruschetta. Thanks to Barbara for the idea!
- Another great idea from Bob: baked in puff pastry cups as an appetiser. YOWza.
- Susan suggested serving this over grilled cod. Carol would use grilled wild salmon. Either way, perfect.
- Tossed with pasta! Of course. Thanks, Pam.
- Linda suggested Pizza. DOH! Why didn't I think of that?
- ...and Grace, a woman after my own heart, would eat this on a spoon. Oh, yeah. I'm there.