Get ready to fall in love with grill-roasted red peppers. One bite of Ajvar, and you will want to put this Serbian red pepper relish on everything from bread to meat and even veggies!
Ajvar (pronounced AYE-var) is a bright and robust red pepper relish that originates from the Balkans region of southeastern Europe. Ajvar could be considered a sauce similar to ketchup in its tangy, slightly sweet flavor and its most common use, as a topping for cevapi sausages.
Like ketchup, its uses go far beyond a simple sausage topper. It can be used as a condiment for grilled fish and meats, as a sandwich spread, or simply spread on bread or a cracker for a nice snack.
The key to making a good ajvar is to roast the red pepper and eggplant on a grill. You can roast them in the oven in a pinch, but you will loose all that delicious, smoky goodness that the grill imparts.
Once the vegetables are soft and charred, then it is time to peel and seed them. Finally, the roasted flesh goes into the food processor with some raw garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
A good pulsing in the food processor gets the relish to the perfect consistency. Ours was thick enough to our liking after just the time in the food processor. But, if yours is a bit too watery, don’t be afraid to transfer it to a skillet or sauce pan and cook it down a bit, uncovered, over low heat, until it reaches a consistency you like.