Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ajvar

Ingredients:
  • 4 aubergines
  • 8-12 fresh red paprika
  • chili peppers to taste
  • 1-2 dl. oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar)
  • salt and pepper to taste
AjvarAjvar is a popular appetizer made of roasted paprika, ripe tomatoes, and even string beans can be combined into ajvar. Ajvar is a seasonal dish in Macedonia, Serbia and other former parts of Yugoslavia, always made in late summer and early autumn, just after the paprika harvest, when many households bottle their own ajvar for use throughout the winter season. Here are the directions:

Wash aubergines, drain, put into the heated oven (175-200°C) and bake then peel while still warm. Wash paprika's, wipe and dry fry on top the stove, then put into deeper dish, sprinkle with cold water, cover and leave to cool. Skin cooled paprika's and remove seed. Grind paprika's and aubergines together. Peel onion, chop finely, cook slowly in heated oil until quite soft. Towards the end add cleaned and crushed garlic, cook shortly together, set aside, add ground paprika's and aubergines and mix (very often ajvar is prepared without adding onion and garlic).

Turn all into a deeper dish and drip in oil slowly, stirring all the time. When all the oil is used, add lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper and mix well. Put into a bowl, shape nicely, sprinkle with more pepper if desired and pour over with some more oil.

Serve as an appetizer to spread on thick slices of country-style white bread or flat pita bread with chunks of feta cheese, or use as a side dish to accompany grilled or roasted meats.

Ajvar is put into small clean jars pressed tightly so that there are no bubbles in them and the jars covered with cellophane ot parchment.


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