RED PEPPER AND WALNUT DIP WITH FENNEL SPEARS
Muhammara, a Middle Eastern dip with a spicy kick, is traditionally served with pita bread or roasted meats, but Hanna likes it with the addictive crunch of fennel.
3 medium red bell peppers
3/4 cup walnuts (3 ounces)
1/4 cup crushed whole-wheat crackers
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Fennel bulbs, cored and cut in wedges
Light a grill. Grill the red bell peppers over moderately high heat, turning with tongs, until they’re blackened all over. Transfer the charred peppers to a bowl and let them cool completely. Peel the peppers and discard the skins, seeds and cores. Coarsely chop the peppers.
In a food processor, combine the peppers, walnuts, crushed crackers, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, cumin and Aleppo pepper and process until fairly smooth. With the machine on, add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and process until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with the parsley. Serve the dip with the fennel wedges.
The Red Pepper and Walnut Dip can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 2 days.
Recipe by Chris Hanna