There are many variations of ajvar. You can find similar versions of it in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Turkey, Bulgaria. In Romania we have Zacusca, which is our local version.
This time I made a recipe which claims to be Albanian. I don’t know for sure about that, all I know is that it is delicious, I loved it and I will make for sure again and again and again. We mostly eat this relish as a bread spread with some good feta cheese scrambled on top, but you can also have it as a side dish with grilled meats for example. Or even mix this with pasta.
The recipe is vegan if you leave out the cheese on top, and you don’t really need the cheese, the spread is perfect as it is.
- 4 red bell peppers
- 2 small eggplants
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 100 ml/ a bit less than ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the red bell peppers and the eggplants on a baking tray laid with baking paper and bake them for about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size, until the skin blackens and the vegetables are really soft. Alternatively and even better for the taste is to grill the veggies on a hot grill.
- Place the peppers in a plastic bag, seal the bag and leave them until they cool down a little. This will help with removing the skin afterward. Let the eggplants cool down as well. When cool enough to handle remove the skins of the vegetables very thoroughly.
- Mash the vegetables, not very finely, you should still have small chunks of the veggies here and there. Add the grated garlic clove, the finely chopped onion, salt, pepper and hot paprika powder. Mix well and add the vinegar and olive oil in a thin stream while stirring all the time. Adjust the taste with more salt and pepper if necessary.