15 June, 2009

Lutenica

I love my local produce store. Not only do I get wonderful fresh vegetables and fruit at half the supermarket price, but they've got a marvelous selection of Eastern Mediterranean and Turkish foods as well. If it weren't for that little market, I would never have discovered the amazing magic of Lutenica.

Lutenica is a kind of roasted vegetable spread common in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Macedonia. It's made of roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, and roasted fefferoni peppers (which are an Eastern Mediterranean variety of hot chile pepper.) Because it's a traditionally home-made condiment, there are a lot of variations on that basic theme because every family has their own way of making it.

The version we bought is made by VaVa in Macedonia and imported by Fast-Pak Trading in New Jersey. It's made with roasted red peppers, tomato sauce, carrots, parsley, garlic, fefferoni peppers, oil, and salt. I bought it out of curiosity, but now that we've tried it we'll probably never be without it.

The first time I opened the jar, the aroma was incredible: mouth-watering roasted red peppers, the tang of ripe tomatoes, and just a hint of garlic. It's spicy, but not too spicy, and the flavors are perfectly balanced; all of the ingredients work together in harmony. So far, we've enjoyed it with beef and pork. Very soon, I'm going to make a pizza using lutenica as a base instead of the usual tomato sauce. I bet it'll be aces.




Links:


VaVa's complete line of pepper relishes can be viewed here. I want to find Ajvar next - it's like lutenica, but with roasted eggplant added.

Fast-Pak Trading Inc. website. Fun to explore.

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1 comment:

fnord said...

Ajvar goes very well with sausages, as a ketchup replacement. Preferably a good quality wiener sausage in a poppyseed bun with some good German mittelscharf mustard.