Ajvar: Serbian Salsa

The recipe for Ajvar, or Serbian Salsa as it's also called, differs from home to home across the Balkan Region. The addition of chili peppers, different types of oils, and varying amounts of eggplant are all variations that make each recipe unique.

Ajvar: Serbian Salsa

Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

50 minutes

Serves

4 people

“The recipe for Ajvar, or Serbian Salsa as it’s also called, differs from home to home across the Balkan Region. The addition of chili peppers, different types of oils, and varying amounts of eggplant are all variations that make each recipe unique.

Ajvar is considered Zimnica, a Serbian term referring to foods that are pickled and jarred right before winter, such as pickled chili peppers and pickled tomatoes. It’s a savory roasted red pepper and eggplant dish that is ritually made close to fall during peak harvest time for red peppers.”

 

This recipe is courtesy of Neha Khullar, author of Palate Passport.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 medium red bell peppers
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation

  • 1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • 2 In a large bowl, drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over the peppers and mix until well-coated.
  • 3 Pour the peppers and eggplant onto a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for about 1 hour.
  • 4 Remove the peppers from the oven when they are blackened all over. Place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and steam for about 20 minutes. Remove the charred skin, seeds, and core of the peppers and discard.
  • 5 Remove the eggplant from the oven when it is completely charred. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until completely cooled. Trim off the top of the eggplant and cut lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh of the eggplant and discard the skin.
  • 6 Place the roasted red peppers, eggplant pulp, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until roughly chopped. Add the rest of the olive oil, vinegar, and salt; pulse until the mixture is smooth.
  • 7 Transfer the sauce to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 8 Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 9 Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container to store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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