Pinjur sauce is a slightly spicy, savory sauce which is native to Eastern Europe. It is especially popular in Macedonia and Yugoslavia, and it is also found in other areas in the region, often going by a variety of other names such as ajvar. This sauce can be used straight just like a condiment, and it can also be added to other sauces and cooked dishes to add its distinctive flavor; many people, for example, like to add pinjur sauce to their pasta sauce.
Basic pinjur sauce is made with eggplant, garlic, and olive oil, typically seasoned with fresh herbs. Some cooks also add roasted red peppers for a slightly smoky flavor, and chopped nuts, especially walnuts, are not uncommon either. Essentially, pinjur sauce is like a kind of relish, tending to be very thick and chunky with a kick from the garlic and some tang from the eggplant. Depending on how it is seasoned, pinjur sauce may also be slightly sweet.
Many people use this sauce as a spread on crackers, breads, and other foods, and it can also used as a dip for vegetables, roast meats, and so forth. Straight pinjur can also be mixed with various ingredients to make dressings, and some people enjoy a layer of pinjur in sandwiches, lasagnas, and so forth. Pinjur sauce may make its way into soups, stews, marinades, and other sauces, as well, where the concentrated flavor can carry a long way, totally transforming a dish.
This sauce can also be a great addition to a buffet, where it may be laid out with a spread of other sauces and dips. Pinjur sauce is also an excellent accompaniment to spreads of tapas or meze, where it fits right in with many of the traditional inclusions in these Mediterranean snack spreads.
Many grocery stores sell pinjur sauce, especially if they cater to an Eastern European clientele, and you can also make it at home. Start by roasting an eggplant until soft, and while the eggplant cooks, mash together several cloves of garlic in olive oil, adding salt and pepper to make a grainy paste. When the eggplant is finished, chop it loosely into chunks and mix it with the garlic paste, adding fresh herbs to taste and chopped nuts or roasted pepper if desired. Keep the pinjur sauce refrigerated until use, and plan to use it within the week, or to freeze it for up to three months.