Muhammara (Walnut-Red Pepper Spread)

muhammara book

Ten years ago, when our nut driven adventure began, we both combed through the troves of recipes compiled by our families.  “Anything with nuts, anything with nuts” we chanted as we flipped through yellowed hand written index cards and indecipherable shorthand notes.  A few stood out, genuine treasures that kindled childhood memories and compelled us back into the kitchen to recreate them.  One of the best was from Andrea’s grandmother, the Muhammara, a red pepper and walnut dip that is redolent with pomegranate molasses and freshly ground cumin.  We made big batches, and along with some sesame coated crackers and sweet nut filled cookies, we packed it up and sent it off to all publishers who were considering our book.  When our book deal was signed, our editor gleefully told us how much she loved it.  We knew it was a winner, and we were right.  With its terra cotta hue and its fragrant flavor, it has gone from dip to chicken salad dressing and has found its way into countless catering menus on the way. You can find the recipe on page 73 of our book.

muhammara trader joes 2Ten years later, the previously unknown Muhammara can be found in half pint containers on the shelves of Trader Joe’s, stocked among the countless varieties of hummus and dips.  And yesterday, a recipe similar to ours has appeared in the Dining Section of the New York Times. (http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017492-muhammara-red-pepper-and-walnut-spread) Clearly, by most measures, Muhamarra has arrived.  Are we trendsetters, ahead of the curve as nut aficionados?  Maybe.  But we certainly know what delicious is!