Ajvar is a beloved Croatian sauce that’s found across southeastern Europe. I first discovered it in Zagreb, Croatia when I ordered a late night cevapi (a Croatian-style sausage), and found my sausage smothered in the subtle red condiment — it was love at first bite. The sauce is made up of roasted red peppers and eggplant, and has a subtly smoky flavour that pairs well with just about everything. To make my ajvar slightly thicker and dippable, I simmered it on the stove after blending, but it’s perfectly delicious without that extra step.
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Preheat grill to medium-high, around 450⁰F.
Pierce the skin of eggplant all over with a fork or the tip of a knife. Place on grill to roast, turning every 5-10 minutes to ensure that all sides are roasted. Roast for 30 minutes or until eggplant has softened and slightly shriveled. Set aside and let cool.
Add red peppers to the grill and roast for 20 minutes, turning so the peppers are charred all over and softened.
Remove charred red peppers from the grill and place in a container. Cover with a lid for 10 minutes to allow the peppers to steam.
Once the peppers have steamed, remove the skin, stem and core. Place the pepper flesh into a food processor.
Once the eggplant has cooled, cut it in half and scoop out flesh, adding flesh to food processor along with garlic.
Pulse eggplant, peppers and garlic in food processor until smooth.
Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to food processor. Pulse just to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Optional: ajvar can be served directly after combining in food processor, or if you prefer a thicker consistency (as pictured), place ajvar in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Serve with vegetables, pita or crackers.