Move over hummous, forget the pesto, something new is in town. And it's called muhammara (not muhamammara, mumahara or mumrah - I can't spell the stuff for toffee). The principle is broadly the same as pesto - garlic, olive oil but with walnuts rather than pine nuts and with roasted peppers replacing the basil. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice and some breadcrumbs and you have something really quite special. 

Having tasted it at a deli, I followed a good old Ottolenghi recipe here. You don't mess with Ottolenghi but this is one of those recipes that does benefit from a taste at each stage and is pretty forgiving to adapting slightly depending on the ingredients you have at hand. 

The peppers are roasted and sweated in a cling-filmed bowl until they start shrugging their skins off. This seems fiddly but is well worth the effort. Similarly fiddly but worth it - and Ottolenghi also suggests - is doing all the grinding in the mortar and pestle which gives a good inconsistency in the texture. Like with hummus, a too consistent texture is a little creepy.

We put in only a splash of the pomegranate molasses so the colour is more of a vibrant red. This stuff is good. If you are suffering from hummus fatigue, this is the perfect substitute. 

To serve, we went for an Ottolenghi-tribute platter. Roasted paprika chicken stuffed with chorizo and onions, and roasted cauliflower topped with pickled tarragon. Pretty good.


Leave a comment