Ajvar: A Super Versatile Serbian Salsa (of Sorts)
Courtesy of TRGOPRODUKT
F&W Executive Food Editor Tina Ujlaki applies her incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.
I stumbled on this delicious, garlicky red bell pepper-and-eggplant condiment/spread/dip a couple of years ago when I was looking at jarred tomato sauces. When I looked it up online, I saw that those who make it from scratch refer to it as “Serbian salsa” or “Croatian relish.” Over the weekend, I used ajvar to make a superquick version of muhammara by pureeing it with walnuts (this is an expert’s version of the real thing). Ajvar is also great on its own, whether spicing up sandwiches, with eggs or with roasted meats or chicken. For an almost instant hors d’oeuvre, spread ajvar on toasts, top with goat cheese and broil. Some brands are spicier and more garlicky than others, but the heat level is usually indicated on the jar.
Here’s a nice recipe for starters: Roasted Cauliflower with Ajvar Dressing. Most well-stocked supermarkets carry at least one version of ajvar.