Muhammara is a Syrian dip, similar to a pesto, consisting of roasted red peppers and walnuts. It’s smoky, sweet, and savory all at once. In this recipe, pita bread is toasted, then topped with goat cheese, Muhammara, and charred, oven-roasted fresno peppers. Fresno peppers are essentially red jalapenos. They can be found in your local grocery store, alongside their milder counterparts. The interplay of flavors makes this dish the perfect appetizer: tangy goat cheese, savory muhammara, and fiery fresno peppers. Best of all, the components can be prepared ahead of time and simply assembled when you’re ready to eat!

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

3 red bell peppers

Olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked Black Pepper

About nine medium sized fresno peppers

2 cloves garlic (peeled)

1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)

handful parsley

4 oz Chevre goat cheese

4 tablespoons whipped cream cheese

3 pieces pita bread (halved, then cut into thirds)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare red peppers by cutting down all sides and discarding the tops and inner ribs (white parts). Scatter the large pieces over a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Then, place fresno peppers onto separate baking sheet or pan, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast fresno peppers alongside red peppers at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until charred. In the meantime, combine cream cheese and goat cheese, season with salt and pepper and mix well until slightly softened. Cut each piece of pita bread into six equal slices and toast in a toaster oven until slightly crisp. Once peppers have roasted, remove from oven. Cover red peppers with foil and let rest for ten minutes. This will allow the skin to slip easily from the flesh. Remove skin and place red peppers into a food processor, along with two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of olive oil, and chopped walnuts. Pulse until smooth consistency is achieved. Then season with salt and pepper to taste, fold in fresh chopped parsley, and set aside. For the fresno chilies, remove stems and cut each pepper in half. Reserve for assembly.

To assemble, simply spread goat cheese mixture evenly over each slice of pita bread and top with a teaspoon or so of muhammara. Then take half of a charred fresno pepper and place it over the top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve. Enjoy!

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