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August 17, 2010 / littlefooteslab

Harissa

Remember the other day when I was talking about finding carrot recipes? Well, I found a few.  One of them is one I am making this afternoon to take to a dinner party tonight.  It’s called Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta, and Mint.

Looking at the ingredient list the only item to perplex me was the harissa.  I’ve never used it before, but surely my local grocer will carry it.  They have plenty of gourmet items.

nope.

Good thing I thought ahead and brought the recipe along with me.  I rounded up all the ingredients for the harissa and headed home.

I just finished making the stuff, and can I just say that I think I am going to eat it on everything!  It’s sooo yummy!

freshly made harissa

It’s mostly dried chilies, a roasted red pepper, olive oil, a bit of garlic, spices, a few sun dried tomatoes, and a dash of salt.  It has the most wonderful smoky, roasted pepper, with the hint of all the spices in the background, kind of taste to it.  Super yum!   Does anyone remember Fernando’s Hideaway?  It was located near the old UO Portland Center.  Well, they had a potato dish that I am pretty sure had this as a main ingredient.  I would always order it because it was so good, so now, as soon as it cools down a bit in the forecast here, I am going to experiment with making those potatoes!

Here is the recipe for the harissa.  A really fun new to me cooking blog too.  I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on this one.

Doing a little research, I learned that harissa is commonly used in North African cuisine, which definitely explains to me it’s presents in a spanish tapas potato dish.

Hopefully, I’ll share my carrot salad experience with you here, I think it will be pretty at the very least because I am planning on making it with my rainbow carrots grown right in my own garden.  Well, that and the addition of the harissa, and the dish is bound to be spectacular.

Here’s the recipe I used.  I strayed slightly from the linked version, using a bit more roasted red pepper, cumin, olive oil, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes.  But, it’s really a process we are learning here, with variations in many different ways that can be experimented with.  I can’t wait!  Different peppers, different amounts of spices, sun dried tomatoes, I don’t see any way this can go badly if you stay within the framework of the recipe.

Tomato-pepper harissa – adapted from The Wednesday Chef
Makes 2 cups

4 ounces dried chiles
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 halves sun-dried tomatoes, dry-packed
1 medium red bell pepper
1/4 cup best-quality olive oil, plus extra for storage – I might have used more than this, just streaming it into the food processor until I reached the desired consistency

1. Roast the red pepper on the out door grill until blistered and charred on all sides. Set aside to cool on small plate covered with plastic wrap. Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let rest until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, then remove the seeds and stems from the chiles. Wear latex or rubber gloves when you do this to avoid irritating your skin.

2. Place the seeded and stemmed chiles into the bowl of a food processor with the garlic and pulse a couple of times. Add the salt, cumin and coriander. Process until smooth, pouring the olive oil into the feeding tube on top as you blend.

3. In a small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water and allow to soften, about 15 minutes. Drain. Remove the skin of the roasted pepper, and the veins and the seeds. Do not rinse under water.

4. Add the tomatoes and the roasted red pepper to the chile mixture, adding a few tablespoons of water if needed to achieve the right consistency. The harissa should have the texture of thick paste. Put into jar and cover with a thin layer of olive oil and refrigerate until needed.

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5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Sarah Richard / Aug 18 2010 12:52 am

    I loved those potatoes and plan on making this to try it at my house!!!

    • littlefooteslab / Aug 18 2010 8:56 am

      It’s yummy! And pretty easy to make. Or, you could come over and we could make potatoes here. I already have the harissa. ; )

  2. Dan / Aug 18 2010 3:30 pm

    sounds interesting.. I might have to try it on pita bread? or something

    • littlefooteslab / Aug 18 2010 9:57 pm

      That would be good. I think combined with some hummus and feta and you’d have yourself a real tasty treat.

  3. moma / Aug 27 2010 12:03 am

    That was YUMMY!

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