We first tried the awesomeness known as Ajvar when we were in Ottawa a few months back. We were visiting the Ottawa farmer’s market with our kids when we happened upon a Macedonian festival at a nearby pavilion. One of the vendors passed us a bottle of this delicious dip, stating that he felt we needed to have it. And indeed we did, one bite had us hooked!
We’ve been able to find Ajvar at a few different grocery stores since, but it is generally hit and miss. I was tempted to try my hand at making a batch when our local CSA provided us with a bounty of both eggplant and red peppers. The jar we were gifted contained hot chilies, which we love, but feel free to leave the spice out if you aren’t a fan. We love pairing this dip with some Mary’s Gone Crackers or some delicious slices of gluten free bread (homemade, care of the Gluten Free Baking Academy). Enjoy!
1 small eggplant, sliced in half
Small drizzle olive oil
4 large red peppers, sliced in half
1 small Thai bird chili or ¾ tsp cayenne (optional)
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp smoked sea salt (plain sea salt also works well)
Fresh cracked pepper
Fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
Slice eggplant in half and rub cut sides with olive oil. Place on a roasting pan, and roast at 375F for 25 minutes, or until soft.
Cut peppers in half and arrange on a baking sheet covered in parchment, cut side down. Broil for 25 minutes, or until the skin is loose and lightly charred. Transfer the peppers to a paper bag, or a covered bowl and let sit for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove the skins and set aside.
Combine all recipe ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until desired texture is achieved. I used a blender for this batch, but if chunky texture is your thing a food processor will allow you to achieve a chunkier texture. Serve with thinly sliced (chiffonade) basil on top.