Pretty (Easy) in Pink
November 19, 2014
One of my favorite party foods is muhammara, the dip made of red peppers, walnuts, garlic and pomegranate molasses. Much as I love the sweet and sour flavor, it's the color, I think, that most appeals to me; having something so flashy and sassy sitting on my counter always makes me happy.
So when I saw the recipe for David Leibowitz's beet hummus it stopped me cold; the color is so similar. Why, I thought, didn't I think of that?
David's recipe is really simple – and really good for you. It's almost half beets. Garlic and lemon kick in a little punch. And right behind that is the seductive tanginess of pomegranate molasses.
Thanks, David, great idea.
From David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen
12 ounces cooked, peeled and diced red beets
2/3 cup cooked, drained chickpeas (use canned chickpeas if you like)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
6 tablespoons tahini (buy the best that you can; some brands are awful)
2 teaspoons salt, plus more if you feel like it
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
generous pinch of cayenne pepper or smoked chile powder (I used urfa pepper)
1½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whirl it around until it's nearly smooth. Dip in a finger and adjust salt or lemon to your own taste. That's it.
This will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. David says it keeps in the freezer for up to 6 months; not sure I'd try keeping it that long.
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I’ve never actually eaten a beet, not that I haven’t had my chances. I’ve decided to try to new foods after reading your first two memoirs (I’m now working through Garlic and Sapphires) that I have always been too scared to try. For example, anything with raw egg: spaghetti carbonara or hollendaise sauce, just does not appeal to me and yet I will lick the brownie batter until there is none to bake. How would you describe a beet’s taste and texture? Do you have a muhammara recipe too?
If you like sugar, you’ll like beets. They have a very earthy sweetness. The texture is different, depending on how you cook them. Roast them whole, in their skins, and the texture is a lot like baked potatoes.
Muhammara? Here’s a recipe we developed at Gourmet:
a jar of roasted red peppers (7 ounces), drained
2/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped
2 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Put everything except the oil in a food processor and whirl until it’s smooth. With the motor running, gradually add the oil. Put it into a bowl and serve as a dip.
I love muhammara, too. But I can’t eat the traditional recipe due to my allergy to walnuts. I got permission, via Facebook, from both Paula Wolfert and Nawal Nasrallah (author of _Delights from the Garden of Eden_) to make it with hazelnuts. And it is spectacular. I got a thumbs-up on my version from my daughter, who tasted it on a visit home–she’s been living in Beirut, Ramallah, and Amman during the past few years, and muhammara is a favorite of hers.