Executive Chef Cindy Pawlcyn
At Mustards Grill in Napa, Calif., chef Pawlcyn delivers the perfect Mediterranean-inspired snack or appetizer with a spread that pairs well with crackers, toasted baguette slices or flatbread wedges. Pomegranate syrup and lemon juice give this Turkish walnut-garlic spread a distinct mix of acidity and sweetness, and red jalapenos add a shot of heat.
2 (12 oz.) large red bell peppers
1 tbsp. water
2/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
2/3 cup toasted sourdough breadcrumbs
1 or 2 minced and seeded red jalapenos
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground cumin seeds
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. pomegranate syrup
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1. Roast bell peppers over grill or gas flame, turning frequently until charred all over. Seal 10 minutes in a plastic bag then peel, seed and chop.
2. In food processor, mix chopped peppers with 1 tablespoon water. Process to moist paste. Set aside.
3. In mortar, pound walnuts with garlic. Stir in bread crumbs and jalapenos. Continue pounding until all ingredients are blended. Mix in pureed bell peppers. Gradually mix in olive oil and season with cumin, red pepper flakes, pomegranate syrup and lemon juice.
4. Taste and adjust with salt and lemon juice. Let stand several hours or overnight for flavors to blend and mature.
5. Serve with croutons or on flatbread wedges or crackers.
Photo courtesy of California Walnuts