Ajvar is a red pepper and eggplant spread from the Balkans, traditionally served with meat. When my mother, as a vegetarian, asked for some my great-uncle remarked “Oh you like the expensive stuff.” For them it was expensive because they made it once a year, in early autumn after the red pepper harvest, and then preserved it to last the whole rest of the year.
Making ajvar homemade is actually quite inexpensive, so you can make yourself a batch and live a life of luxury!
5 red bell peppers
2 small or 1 medium eggplant
6 cloves unpeeled garlic
⅓ cup olive oil
½ tsp Apple cider vinegar (optional)
1 tbsp salt
Wash peppers & eggplant, and add them whole to a pan with garlic cloves. Roast at 450F, removing the garlic at 10-15 min (they start to get oozy), and rotating the veggies occasionally until the skin is mostly blackened (20-30 min). Turn off oven and allow them to steam for a bit longer. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel skins. Add cleaned garlic, pepper flesh (skins and seeds removed), and eggplant (skin removed) to a blender or bowl with immersion blender. Drain the water from the bowl. Add oil, vinegar, & salt – blend in pulses until mostly smooth but not puréed. Transfer to a jar and allow to cool completely before serving (flavors and consistency will settle). Enjoy on bread, vegan meats, in sandwiches, or on just about anything!