As I descend further & further into the madness for malidjano I’ve mentioned here & here, all its evil twins are beginning to swirl around me too, in terrifying numbers.

Really, the sheer variety of condiments from Eastern Europe (& in this case the East Europe Market, just off S. Broadway on E. Louisiana) featuring eggplant, bell peppers, or some combination thereof, along with slightly divergent herb & spice blends here, garlic there, the occasional walnut & so on is startling, from avjar to pinjur & beyond to lutenica. Like avjar, lutenica is heaviest on red bell peppers, but it also contains chilies, tomatoes & carrots. Since the former sometimes strikes me as a little stridently 1-note, I’m fonder of the latter, which has more depth as well as slight heat.

Lutenica1

Lutenica2

I put it on all kinds of vegetables, including spaghetti squash, which makes me think it could make for an interesting alternative to your basic tomato sauce for pasta. Or a deviled egg stuffing, mashed together with the yolks. Or, hell, a scalp treatment. In the world in my head dip is omnipurpose.