This rich, spicy pate is popular throughout the Middle East with each country having their own variation of flavourings added to the two main ingredients of walnuts and roasted red peppers. In Turkey it’s name is Acuka, and it’s fiercely picante, in Syria it’s Muhammara. You, of course can make it as mild or spicy as you prefer.
For the red pepper flesh, either roast about 400 grams of thick fleshed peppers in a hot – 180C – oven until the skin is slightly charred and blistering.
The peppers can be roasted over a glowing fire or barbecue as well of course.
Remove to a container with a lid and leave to cool.
Skin the peppers and remove the seeds and stem keeping any juice that flows out of them.
We are aiming for about 300 grams of flesh including any juices.
Alternatively, if you can get hold of a jar of ready roasted and skinned Pimientos de Piquillo, these can be used for making a quick dip.
So you will need –
300 grams red pepper flesh
50 grams walnut pieces
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon allspices/ pimienta de Jamaica
1/4 teaspoon black or mixed peppercorns
1 clove garlic
1 small chilli or more to taste
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons of its juice
2-3 heaped tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
Toast the walnut pieces in a thick based pan on a low heat, turning them over from time to time until they ara golden colour at the edges and you can smell their rich scent emerging.
Put to one side to cool.
Now put the cumin, allspice and peppercorn seeds in the same pan and toast until their aroma is detectable.
Put them into a small food processor and whizz to a powder.
Add the pepper pulp, garlic, olive oil, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice and zest. Whizz to a fine purée.
Add 2 of the tablespoons of breadcrumbs and pulse to mix in.
Leave for about half an hour for the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid in the purée and thicken it. If it is not the texture of a spreadable pate and is too liquid add more breadcrumbs.
Add the toasted walnut pieces and pulse to mix in to the pate and be cut up a bit smaller but not too small.
Check seasonings and enjoy