Pronounced Eye-var, this dish is made of roasted Peppers and Eggplant. Ripe red mild or medium-hot peppers are most often used, although green peppers, unripe tomatoes, and even string beans can be combined into ajvar. Fresh ajvar is always made during the late summer and early autumn, just after the pepper harvest—when many households also can or bottle their own ajvar for use throughout the year. Serve it as an appetizer to spread on thick slices of country-style white bread or flat pita bread, or use it as a side dish.
- 8 to 12 fresh red New Mexican chiles, or substitute green
- 4 medium-sized eggplants
- ½ to ¾ cup olive oil or corn oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar)
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Roast the chiles and eggplants over charcoal or a gas flame—or bake them in a preheated 475 degree f oven—until the skins are blistered and black.
- Place the roasted vegetables in a paper bag and let them steam in their own heat for 10 minutes.
- Peel off and discard the burnt skins along with the stems and seeds of the chiles.
- Mash the peppers and eggplant pulp together to form a homogeneous mass - completely smooth or slightly chunky, as desired.
- You can do this in a food processor.
- Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, and saute the onion until very soft.
- Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the pepper-eggplant pulp, mixing well.
- Slowly drizzle the remaining oil into the mixture, stirring constantly to incorporate all of the oil.
- Add lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley.