Ajvar – a roasted red pepper spread from the Balkans

Ajvar is something delicious. A Serbian vegetable paste that can be used in many ways. As a dip, as a spread, or with meat or fish. I have known this vegetable paste for a long time, because my father always has a small pot in the fridge and prepares some of his favourite dishes with it. Since the Lockdown, I now make this paste myself. It’s perfect for our little evening apperitives, our French ritual where we have little bites with a drink before dinner.

Recipe for 12 pieces

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  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • salt, pepper
  • chilli (optional)

Prick the skin of the aubergine in a few places with a fork. Place on a BBQ (or under the grill) on a cooler spot and turn occasionally. The skin of the aubergine must darken. This will take about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, place the two peppers on the hottest part of the BBQ (or under the grill) and grill, turning occasionally, until the skin is black all over and they are soft.

Place the charred peppers in a freezer bag and seal for 10 minutes. Then simply peel off the skin of the peppers and remove the stems and inners.

When the aubergine is soft, remove from the grill, leave to cool and cut in half. Scrape out the inside of the aubergine with a spoon and mix with the peppers, garlic clove, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli until it forms a paste. Season again to taste.

If it is not yet the desired consistency don’t hesitate to cook the paste a bit longer in a small pan.

The Ajvar can either be used immediately or kept in the fridge for up to a week. Of course, it can also be frozen.

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