I am a damn fool for a good sauce. While I can usually be contented by the old lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt trick, sometimes you need something more luxurious. Muhammara, a sauce that originated in Syria, is traditionally made with walnuts, breadcrumbs and pomegranate molasses along with the roasted red peppers. I had none of the above the first time I made the dish and thus created a Californian version of this ancient spread. I substituted almonds for the walnuts, which I think lends enough sweetness to make up for the lack of molasses. As for the breadcrumbs, I am always happy to throw them out of a recipe, because it is one of those steps that is actually three steps in one. And really, unless you're making meatballs or adding crunch to a plate of roasted veg, they aren't always necessary. Instead, I hit the spices hard - cumin, smoked Spanish paprika and garlic.
The next thing I am going to tell you I would not have admitted to anyone a few years ago. Maybe I used to be a little bit less lazy, had more time or just had a chef's voice in my head about doing everything from scratch, but using roasted red peppers in a recipe always meant charring the skins over the burner, setting off the fire alarm, steaming them in a bowl, peeling the skins, burning my fingers and making a mess. Yes they taste fantastic. But when it comes down to it, using the jarred peppers means this sauce shows up easily and regularly on our table. So screw it!
The variations on this recipe are endless. I just put it on the menu at MHBB as a spread for a roasted eggplant, braised kale & sheep feta sandwich. Sometimes we get wild and smear a little bit on our omelette. Think of it as the little black dress of sauces, it just goes with everything.
Find the recipe: Muhammara & Roasted Vegetables