A symbolic reading of Genesis inspired this roasted pepper dip.
This year, I decided to cook a recipe based on each week’s Torah portion as part of a project to better understand Jewish teachings on food and agriculture.
- Make: Golden Beet and Mushroom Salad
One of my memorable dishes was derived from the Torah portion Vayera (Genesis 18-22). In Vayera, Abraham and Sarah expel Abraham’s concubine, Hagar, and her son, Ishmael, who wander in the desert. Later, God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but at the last minute, a ram is sacrificed in his place.
To express this portion through food, I made roasted pepper dips with the same ingredients in different colors to represent the two brothers, Isaac and Ishmael (and sprinkled them with sesame seeds to hint at their shared father). The dips are surrounded by greens that represent the bush under which Hagar left Ishmael — and the thicket in which the sacrificial ram was caught.
The dips should be served with bread, as a reminder of the bread that Sarah and Abraham offered to three strangers who passed by their tent, as recounted in the Torah portion.
2 organic red bell peppers (read about why they should be organic)
2 organic yellow bell peppers
6—8 smaller carrots (preferably orange, yellow, red and purple)
4 cloves garlic
Small bunch of frisée or other greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon schug or other chili paste
½ teaspoon pomegranate molasses or ½ medjool date
1 handful toasted walnut (about 15 whole walnuts)
¼ teaspoon black sesame seeds
1) Pre-heat oven to 500˚ F. Wash vegetables.
2) Place all peppers, carrots and garlic (with skins) on parchment paper lined trays and drizzle with olive oil.
3) Cook until brown, turning over halfway through cooking, approximately 40 minutes.
4) Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, peel pepper skins and take out seeds. Remove garlic skins and carrot tops.
5) Place yellow peppers, 2 cloves garlic and 3—4 carrots (yellow, if you have) in blender with tahini and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth.
6) In another blender container, place red peppers, 2 cloves garlic and 3—4 carrots (red and orange ones) in blender. Add schug, pomegranate molasses, walnuts, salt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.
7) On a platter, arrange dips side by side and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top. Then, arrange frisée or other greens along the edge of the plate.
Sarah Newman writes Neesh Noosh: A Jewish Woman’s Year Long Journey to Find Faith in Food.