Recipe for Muhummara

November 7, 2006 § Leave a comment

I read about it months before I made it because I couldn’t imagine how it would turn out, and indeed, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever eaten, but so good… spicy, sour, and crunchy all at once, and a lovely foil for whatever you’d like to dip into it. Now when I bring it to parties, I chase people around with the bowl saying “Have you tried it? You really should.”

You really should, too. Don’t wait as long as I did.

This recipe is adapted from Didi Emmons’ book Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, and it was a huge hit with everyone who tried it. High praise, that; you’ve never seen so many picky eaters gathered in one place.


for the muhammara:
1 6-inch pita bread
1 cup chopped walnuts
2.5 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1 garlic clove
.5 teaspoons ground cumin
.66 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

to serve:
vegetables for crudite
toasted pita chips
Triscuits, in a pinch

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Carefully separate the pita bread into two disks, and place them, rough-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for ten minutes, or until golden. Set the walnuts in a single layer on the same baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden. Careful not to burn them. If you’re the forgetful sort, toast them in a skillet on the stovetop. When they’re toasted, tip them into a bowl.

In a food processor (though I do think you could do it by hand with mortar and pestle) pulse one of the pita disks until finely chopped but not pasty. You’re looking for a sandy texture, but leave stop before all the chunks are gone. Transfer to the bowl with the walnuts. Process the remaining pita and add the hot sauce, pomegranate molasses, garlic, and cumin to the processor and puree till smooth.

With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube (or if you’re going old school, bash the mixture quickly and mix in the oil in a steady stream, I suppose) until well-incorporated. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the walnuts and other pita. Stir to combine and add the salt. Serve at room temperature with the vegetables and pita chips.

Makes 1.5 cups

You can keep it for about two weeks after it’s made, but make sure it’s covered with an extra quarter-inch or so of olive oil.

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