Muhammara: A new dip/spread, slather it on everything

I am always on the lookout for new ideas and recipes to make in our deli. Recently, I was visiting Seattle and my sister took me to her favorite spot to get mezze. There I experienced a dip nestled in the middle of the hummus and the baba ganoush that knocked my socks off with the perfect combination of deep smokiness, nutty sweetness and tanginess right at the finish and I immediately knew that this would be the next great thing in the Deli! Upon inquiring, I learned that this beautiful red spread was called Muhammar, a classic dip that combines Aleppo peppers, walnuts, pomegranate molasses and breadcrumbs.

Muhammara originates from Aleppo, Syria where I am assuming they grow a lot of Aleppo peppers; a chili pepper classically used in Muhammara. After searching high and low to no avail for this mysterious pepper, at least not in the quantities we would need to make Muhammara in the Deli. I realized if I wanted to make this I’d have to make my own substitutions. Luckily the recipe for Muhammara is pretty lenient as this dip has been around since before cookbooks so there are as many versions of it as there are people that make it, so our version is made with a combination of roasted red peppers and jalapenos to recreate the sweet spiciness of the Aleppo pepper. Muhammara is extremely versatile and is excellent on baguette, naan, pita chips, crackers, carrot sticks, and anything you normally use as a carrier to get dips to your mouth. We have also discovered that it is great stirred into grains, rice and quinoa, after they’re finished cooking. As for roasted meats and vegetables I think this is really where the muhammara shines. I have slathered it on everything that has come off my BBQ for the last couple of weeks, which has pretty much included every type of meat and vegetable and have yet to find anything that it doesn’t enhance. My favorite was putting it on BBQ’d lamb chops and also mixing it with grilled zucchini, mushrooms, onions and asparagus. I bet it would even be excellent on pasta, or on a pizza, or in a sandwich or a wrap. Give it a try; let me know what you think and if you find any ways to serve it that knock your socks off, I would love to hear about them. Located in the Deli grab n go. Enjoy!

Michelle, Deli Manager

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