I thought about ajvar again recently and added “burgers with ajvar” to my long list of “Things I Would Like to Eventually Make and Blog about” and then, like fate, we visited my family in Michigan, and my Serbian aunt whipped out some ajvar with pita for appetizers. Score! Both my kids ate it up (as did I, of course) so that really pushed me over the edge to make it myself.
I made this on a Sunday and we had it for a snack on pita (my oldest also added feta to his, because he is smart) and then we had it the next day for dinner. I made some cevapi-flavoried patties and we had them on mini pitas as burgers. We all really enjoyed it, and I love what a healthy dip/spread it is. I’m always looking for new and different things to use as appetizers, and this is a good one. I will say, though, that I was a little heavy-handed with the garlic (as always) and while the spread was spot-on on Sunday, by Monday evening, the garlic had become much more noticeable. I would say if you are not going to consume this fairly quickly, err on the lower range of garlic. You can always add more (or, you can roast the garlic for a much mellower, less pungent flavor). By day 3, when we took the leftover burgers to work, I just made sure to have a lot of gum handy. 🙂
I made this smoother than some ajvar dips I’ve seen. Do what you want.
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp
5 red bell peppers
1 small eggplant
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (or to taste)
Arrange the oven racks into the upper half of the oven, and then preheat to 450. Line two baking sheets with foil.
Halve each pepper, removing the core, and then lay them cut-side down on the baking sheet(s). Slice the eggplant in half the long way, and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the eggplant with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle it with salt. Roast the peppers and eggplant until the peppers are blackened and blistered and the eggplant collapses when you press on it, about 30-40 minutes.
Place the peppers in a large bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen town. Once cool enough to handle, peel the peppers and place the peeled peppers and their liquid into a food processor. Using a spoon, scrape out the pulp of the eggplant, and place it into the food processor (discarding the skin). To the food processor, add the remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, chili flakes, and salt to taste. Process to your liking – either pulsing for a chunky relish or smoother (as I did).