Yield: Yields about 1-1/4 cups; may be doubled.
Variations of this dip, called muhammara, are made throughout the eastern Mediterranean region. Walnuts and pomegranate molasses are constants, but the types and numbers of chiles can vary. Some versions are fiery, but this one, based on a recipe by Paula Wolfert, is not very spicy at all, and it always gets rave reviews.
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Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor. Blot the peppers and chiles dry with paper towels. Add the peppers, chiles, crackers, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, cumin, salt, and sugar to the food processor. Process until mostly smooth. With the machine on, slowly pour the oil down the feed tube. Taste and add more lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, or salt, as needed.
You can serve the dip right away, but it’s better if allowed to mellow in the refrigerator overnight. (The dip keeps for about 1 week.) Return to room temperature before serving, garnished with a drizzle of oil, a generous pinch of cumin, and the pine nuts, if using.
Serve this dip with pita chips.
Always looking for healthy appetizers, and this one is great -- a nice change from hummus, and pretty to look at as well. Especially good in late summer/early fall, when red peppers are in season. I think it tastes best slightly warm, so I either serve as soon as I make it, or else heat briefly in microwave.
Outstanding recipe! Amazingly easy crowd-pleaser, and couldn't be more healthy. If you have a gas range, I suggest fire-roasting the red bell peppers (charing them) right on the open flame. In the interest of time, I substituted the red-hot chillie peppers with red chillie flakes, and once the finished product melds, the flavor is indistinguishable. I serve this as a tapas dish with cucumber sticks to dip. Fabulous!
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