Top | The Glorious Foods of Greece

Pepper Spread

(recipe, Diane Kochilas)


Macedonia offers many versions of this spicy relish, which is used as a condiment, especially with grilled meats and as a spread for bread. This recipe comes from a group of women at the Cooperative in Prespes, who make it and sell it at the hotel they run.


  1. 6 to 10 small thin hot peppers, such as serranos, to taste, seeded and finely chopped (see Note)
  2. 4 lb. red bell peppers, roasted and peeled (see Note)
  3. 1 large eggplant, about 1 pound, roasted and peeled (see Note)
  4. 2 lb. firm, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  5. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 6 garlic cloves, minced
  7. ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  8. Salt to taste


  1. Purée the hot peppers in a food processor, then add the roasted bell peppers and eggplant and continue processing until smooth.
  2. Combine the purée and tomatoes in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil. Simmer, stirring, until the sauce thickens and cooks down, about another hour.
  4. Add the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, the garlic, and the parsley, season with salt, and continue to cook, stirring, until all the liquid has cooked off, 15 minutes or so.
  5. Let cool slightly and spoon into a large, clean glass jar. Let it cool in the jar, cover tightly with the lid, and store in the refrigerator. The pepper spread will keep indefinitely.


Wear rubber gloves when cleaning hot peppers. How to roast peppers: Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers on a baking sheet in neat rows and roast about 8 inches from the heat source, turning until blistered on all sides. Remove from the oven and let the peppers cool until they can be handled. Place one pepper at a time on a small plate, holding it by the stem. Either with your fingers or with a small knife, peel away the skin. Remove the stem, split open the pepper lengthwise, scrape away and discard the seeds and white veins, and place in a container. How to roast eggplant: Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Keep the stems on. For stovetop roasting, set the heat to low and place the eggplant directly on the heat source, turning with tongs, until charred and soft on all sides. Make sure it is soft at the fleshy part near the stem; there is a lot of "meat" at the top, and it should not be wasted. For roasting under a broiler, preheat the broiler, place the eggplant on a sheet pan and puncture the surface of the skin in several places with the tines of a fork, and broil about 8 inches from the heat source, turning, until charred and soft all over. (It takes longer to roast eggplant under a broiler than on top of the stove.) Removing the eggplant pulp: Remove the eggplant from the oven and place on a large cutting board. Let cool enough to handle. Using a sharp paring knife, cut down the center of the eggplant, opening it like a butterfly. Score the flesh horizontally and vertically, being careful not to go down to the skin. Using a spoon, scoop out as many seeds as possible and discard them, then scoop out the pulp, going as close to the skin as possible. Remove any pieces of charred skin that you may scrape out accidentally.