I discovered years ago that muhammara was really handy to have on hand (and it freezes well too!). Say I have a couple of tilapia fillets to fix, I would just bake or broil or poach them, slather muhammara on one side, roll them up to make them look pretty (or not) and voilà!
1 cup of prepared muhammara (see note below)
2 to 4 tilapia fillets (or any other white fish)
If poaching: one small onion or a bay leaf, 1/2 cup white wine, some peppercorns, a sprig of parsley or whatever herb is handy
Garnish: Cherry tomatoes, 1 cup of fresh zaatar or oregano or baby arugula or spinach, dressed with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper
1. Bring 2 (up to 4, depending on how many fillets using) cups of water and wine to a simmer with the other flavorings. Drop the tilapia fillets and poach for 7 minutes or until firm but cooked. Drain, set aside and slather one side with 1/2 or 1/4 cup of muhammara. Roll up and tie with a toothpick or keep as is. Serve with the garnish. The fish stock can be frozen and recycled in a fish curry or chowder or in a pasta sauce.
To make the muhammara: 3 cups
2 cups of walnuts, soaked in water 2 hours, then drained
1 small onion or 3 shallots, cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or to taste)
salt, to taste
3 red bell peppers, broiled, peeled and seeded (substitute one 12-ounce jar of roasted red peppers)
1 chili pepper (optional), can replace with 1 teaspoon chili powder or Aleppo pepper
1 or 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
3/4 cup olive oil, (can use less, until the mixture is pasty)
Place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Add the olive oil gradually until the mixture is like a paste, even if a bit chunky. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve as a tasty paste to go with raw veggies, crackers, fish, chicken, meat or anything else your heart desires. The extra muhammara can be frozen for several weeks, in tightly sealed packages or containers.
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