Cantine chef Scott Kaplan has been with Emmett and Lisa Fox since they had Fino, which was located just a few miles up Lamar Boulevard. Now, Kaplan oversees the kitchen at the Italian-Mediterranean Cantine in the Lamar Union development. In that space, he’s serving some Fino favorites, including blistered shishito peppers — a food trend of the early 2010s that seems to be sticking around — and this muhammara dip.
It’s like hummus, he explains, but with roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes and pomegranate molasses, an ingredient found in many cuisines with Middle Eastern influence. Make this tangy, slightly sweet dip as spicy as you’d like with the chili flakes, and serve with crudités and lightly toasted pita bread
3 red bell peppers
1/4 cup Italian canned tomatoes
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup toasted walnuts
Roast peppers over an open flame or broil on high in oven. Allow peppers to char on all sides until they are completely blackened. Place peppers in a bowl, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Peel off the skin and remove the seeds from the peppers. Add the peppers, tomatoes, garlic, chili flakes, paprika, salt and pomegranate molasses to a food processor. Turn on the food processor and slowly add the oil until the ingredients are incorporated. Add the walnuts and pulse until the dip reaches desired texture. If needed, you can add a little water to thin it out if it’s too thick.
— Cantine chef Scott Kaplan