DALIA’S MUHAMMARA (Walnut and Roast Pepper Paste)

Appetizers, Food From Friends

Serves 8 to 10

4 large red bell peppers
1 hot chili pepper
2 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts removed
11/2 cups shelled walnuts
1 garlic clove, crushed in a press
3 tbsp. pomegranate concentrate (molasses)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin (optional)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more if necessary
3 or 4 sprigs of flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped, to garnish

Roast and peel the peppers. Choose fleshy peppers. Put them on a baking sheet under the broiler, about 31/2 inches from the heat (or grill them on the barbecue). Turn them until their skins are black and blistered all over. Put them in a pan with a tight-fitting lid or in a brown paper bag and twist it closed. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel them and remove the stems and seeds.

Put all the ingredients except the parsley in a food processor and blend to a thick creamy paste. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

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