If you are present in Croatia during late summer or early fall, and observe the locals talking, you might have heard a word ajvar. Croats pronounce it with passionate rigor, so one could think it is something of vital importance. And to many residents of Croatia, it is vital. Ajvar spread is a sort of condiment, usually made from peppers and eggplant. It is highly popular in the entire Balkan region, and although it can be bought in store, the real art comes when making one at home. Literally every family has their own recipe or secret ingredient, and friendly competitions are usually arranged to pick the best one.
Ajvar spread can be mild or spicy, and goes well with grilled or dried meat. It can also be eaten on a simple slice of bread, being a meal on its own. In both cases, if made with expertise, ajvar will be a delicacy well worth of invested effort in making it.
As already mentioned, there are more than one way to make ajvar. However, here’s a recipe that covers the basic version. Feel free to experiment, and make your own kind. Also, invest more ingredients for larger quantities of final result.
Ajvar Spread Recipe
5 kg red peppers
1,5 kg eggplant
2 hot pepperoni
1 garlic clove
500 ml oil
Roast the peppers and eggplant in the oven. Once this is done, put the peppers in a plastic bag and close it firmly. This will cause their skin to detach from fleshy bits, making the removal much easier. Take out the petioles, as well as seeds from the aforementioned veggies, and insert them to your kitchen appliance for mashing meat.
Take a large cooking pot, and pour all oil to the bottom. Heat it, and insert the mashed vegetables. During this period, you must constantly stir the ingredients, as they might stick to the bottom and get burned easily.
Once the liquid evaporates, and once you can see the bottom of the pot while stirring, you are free to add salt according to your tastes. Put the minced garlic and hot pepperoni into the pot and continue stirring until you are satisfied with the texture.
Ajvar needs to be accommodated in sterilized jars, which have to be tightly closed. Leave it in the cold and dark space.
Idea: Put custom labels on a nice jar, and have your home-made ajvar as an always-ready gift for family and friends.