Ajvar has always been one of my favorite among all the jar-packed goodies. It is a traditional Balkan roasted pepper mixture, sometimes referred to as ‘vegetarian caviar’. The type of pepper used for ajvar is called roga, meaning horned — it is large, red, horn-shaped, with thick flesh and relatively easy to peel. It typically ripens in late September. You can make ajvar sweet, piquant or very hot. Its smoky flavor is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.
homemade ajvar recipe
- ten kilograms of ripe tomatoes
- five kilograms of red peppers
- bunch of parsley
- bunch of celery leaves
- five bulbs of garlic
- two tablespoons of black pepper seeds
- five hundred milliliters of vegetable oil
- twenty milliliters of vinegar
- one hundred grams of sugar
- fifty grams of salt
- a tablespoon of ground paprika
Cut the stems off of the peppers, and deseed them. Bake them in the oven at one hundred and eighty degrees until soft, roughly twenty minutes. When cool enough, peel the skin off, dice and drain them.
Mince the tomatoes using an electric blender. Then place it into a saucepan and cook on low to medium heat. Stir occassionally.
Detach cloves of garlic, peel the skin off and mince them with the parsley and celery leaves. When the juice from the tomatoes has thickened, add the paprika, minced garlic, parsley, celery, black pepper seeds, sugar and salt. Combine well.
Add the vegetable oil and vinegar and let it simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates.
Pour the mixture while hot into the storing jars, let it cool completely and then close by tightening the lid.
Serve with toasted sourdough bread and a drizzle of olive oil.
Once the Ajvar has cooled, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to three months.