Oh, Dangerous Harissa!
I sat down to write a recipe for Harissa and the next moment I found myself opening a jar and eating it with a piece of pita. Just thinking about it makes me feel hungry. I smell it and become even hungrier. I wonder, is it me, or Harissa affects everyone like that?
Look how fiery bright it is! I made it smooth and medium, but it could be chunky and hot, and all the variations in between. The beauty of homemade harissa is that you can adjust it to your taste and use locally available chili peppers, which are plentiful in Texas.
Oh, Multifarious Harissa!
I divide all Harissa recipes into three groups: basic, variable, and exquisite ones. For basic harissas, the list of ingredients is shorter — dried chiles bring heat and fruity flavors, cumin and coriander represent spices, garlic (often sun-dried) adds pungence, salt, and olive oil. Variable harissas may include sun-dried tomatoes and fire roasted sweet peppers, onion, and herbs. Extra fancy harissas have an extensive list of spices and herbs and even include Damask rosebuds. My recipe belongs to the second category.
Just like any other chile-based sauces of the world, harissa can be used for a variety of dishes. Besides traditional Middle-Eastern soups, stews, and tagines, harissa can give an exciting and eclectic modification to pasta and rice, yogurt- and mayo-based sauces, marinades for fish and meat to be grilled, etc.
What is your favorite way to enjoy harissa?
- 4 oz dry chile peppers
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp coriander
- 2 tbsp EVOO