2 large eggplants
4 sweet red peppers
Juice of 1-2 large fresh lemons
2 medium cloves fresh garlic, finely crushed
¾ tsp. sea salt to taste
2 Tb. Extra-virgin olive oil
fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
optional: fresh red hot chilies or crushed red pepper
1. Over an open flame (I use my stovetop), roast eggplants on all sides until completely wilted and charred. The smoke and aroma will fill your house, so make sure your kitchen is well ventilated or grill the eggplants (whole) outside. Place the eggplants in a paper bag until cool. This will make them easier to clean. Once they are cooled, discard the stem and all the skin. If the seeds are large and overly abundant, discard them, since they will be bitter (if this is the case you will want to use one more eggplant). Otherwise use the whole eggplant. Do the same with the red peppers.
2. Using a wooden pestle or potato masher or fork, mash the eggplant and red peppers together like you would a potato until you have a uniform mixture. Do not use a food processor or blender (this will create a runny Ajvar). Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir until they are all blended. Adjust the lemon juice according to your taste. Feel free to use as much olive oil as you would like. Garnish with parsley.
3. The origins of this dish are from eastern Europe. It is traditionally eaten as a spicy spread on bread, the same way hummus is eaten. To make this dish a little spicy you can prepare some red hot chilies the same way as the eggplant and sweet peppers and add them into the recipe or you can just add crushed red pepper.