Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Smoky red-pepper sauce from North Africa goes great with grilled meats and more
0 Comments
TasteFood

Smoky red-pepper sauce from North Africa goes great with grilled meats and more

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Harissa

Harissa is a paste or puree of red peppers and chiles combined with other ingredients, such as garlic, citrus and spices.

If you’re looking for a condiment that multitasks and tastes stand-alone delicious, then look no further than harissa. Harissa is a smoky red-pepper sauce traditionally used in North African cuisine. You may know it as a fiery one-note paste sold in a tube or as a jarred red sauce with a salsa consistency.

Essentially, harissa is a paste or puree of red peppers and chiles combined with other ingredients, such as garlic, citrus and spices. Its nuances, heat and flavor will vary from cook to cook, influenced by the choice of peppers and aromatics.

I have been making this recipe for years, and it’s positively addicting. It’s an extremely versatile condiment; I use it on just about everything. I combine roasted sweet bell peppers with fiery chiles for a balance of smoke, sweetness and heat. The heat is intentionally kept at a moderate level to prevent the sauce from overpowering everything it touches. I add a dollop of tomato paste, which lends a hint of fruity acidity while helping to thicken the sauce and round out the flavors.

Frozen foods have always been there for you more, but are you picking the healthiest of foods? Buzz60’s Maria Mercedes Galuppo has more.

How to use harissa:

Marinate skirt or flank steak or chicken thighs in the sauce, then grill over indirect heat.

Drizzle harissa over roasted vegetables, eggs, grilled meats and fish steaks, such as swordfish or halibut.

Use it as a dip for pita chips, veggies or meatballs. Or mix a spoonful into other dips such as tzatziki and hummus for a punch of flavor.

Add a dollop or two to soups, ragouts and stews as a secret flavor-boosting ingredient.

Elevate your prepared rice or couscous to the next level with a swipe of harissa and a shower of chopped herbs and lemon zest.

As you can see, this sauce is indeed versatile, a welcome addition to the summer picnic table. When making the sauce, be sure to toast and grind the whole seeds. This extra step imparts a fantastic flavor to the harissa, which is deeper than if you use pre-ground spices. For best flavor and consistency, roast fresh peppers. If using jarred roasted peppers, be sure to drain them well.

Note that the finished sauce will be soupier and sweeter with jarred peppers than if you roast your own peppers. If you prefer more heat, you can choose not to seed the chile peppers — it’s up to you.

The harissa sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. The flavors will develop once they’ve had a few hours or a day to meld. And while you’re at it, you might want to make a double batch. Chances are that it will be gobbled up.

Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tastefood@tastefoodblog.com. Or visit the TasteFood blog at tastefoodblog.com.

0 Comments

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News