The spice is right

September 21, 2008 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

Foodie spot of the week goes to Harissa, a North African spice paste that can be used as a condiment, marinade, topping, stir-through or ingredient, for just about anything.

Harissa is spicy in taste as well as heat. Adjust these ingredients to your liking.

The basic paste is made with:

  • Red chillies (fairly hot ones, remove seeds to de-intensify)
  • Garlic
  • Ground fresh roasted cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
  • Salt
  • Lots of olive oil

Some recipes add caraway seeds. Some start with red capsicum (smoked, peeled and deseeded, or a puree). For a bit of freshness, add finely chopped coriander or curry leaves.

To make a green Harissa paste, swap red for green capsicum, likewise the chillies, and add chopped parsley.

Blitz ingredients together, adding more oil if necessary. The oil seals the paste for longer storage, the paste can then be kept for ages.

Harissa is excellent as a meat rub, it can also be used like pesto in pasta or spread on bread, and to finish off soups or in stews. It can be cooked with meat, veg and fish. It is a gutsy condiment.

One of my favourite ways to use Harissa is to spoon it on a fillet of white fish, add a chopped herb and cherry tomatoes, some oil, tiny splash of white wine (optional), and wrap all in a foil packet. Cook in the oven, pan or on the BBQ for a few minutes. Voila!

Harissa is as versatile as chermoula, although the latter is usually made and used fresh.

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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.