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Dip or Sauce
of the Eastern Mediterranean by Paula Wolfert
start with toasted walnuts, which make the sauce more flavorful and
richer. If you use this as a dip, extra garlic and pepper can be nice,
go easy on the salt if salty chips or crackers will be dipped; if using
as a sauce over steamed vegetables and pasta, you might increase the
but decrease the pepper. It will happily go either way.
1 1/2 cups toasted
walnuts (about 6 ounces)
1-3 teaspoons paprika
cloves (to taste)
1 1/2 tablespoon
1/2 cup hot water
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
In the food
processor, blend the walnuts, paprika, garlic, coriander, pomegranate
molasses, water, saffron, and salt together until smooth. Add more water
if necessary for a more liquid sauce. Stir in the cilantro.
Adjust seasonings to taste. It can be served
immediately, but it will keep several days if refrigerated or months in
like to toast my walnuts in advance for best flavor. 15 minutes
at 350 or so should do it, so they're golden and nutty but not
burnt. I also "roast" the garlic by zapping briefly in
the microwave before peeling the cloves.
molasses is available in middle eastern groceries, and can often be
found in regular supermarkets if they have a small section for middle
eastern foods. You could probably substitute some lemon juice if
you can't find the real thing.
The saffron is
important for the appearance of the sauce--otherwise the acid in the pomegranate
turns the walnuts
pink--as well as for flavor. But if you don't have it, garlic,
walnuts, coriander and pomegranate molasses are marvelous nevertheless.
Reportedly safflower petals are used as a traditional substitute if saffron is unavailable.
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