Saturday, March 07, 2015

Harissa How-To

I've never been a big fan of ketchup, even as a kid. On French fries I prefer aioli, and condiments like chutney, sriracha and harissa ring my chimes way more than the sugary sweetness of Heinz. Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food shares his recipe for making your own harissa, a version I guarantee is going to beat the pants off anything you'll find in a squeeze bottle.

Cauliflower, Chickpea and Harissa

Harissa, the North African condiment sometimes called Tunisian ketchup, provides a smoky-sweet chile flavor that's particularly good with vegetables. While some of the commercial brands can be very hot, you can adjust the chile heat to suit your palate if you make it yourself.

You'll need a couple of roasted red bell peppers, blackened skin and most of the seeds removed, a few cloves of garlic, a half cup or so of mild or hot chile powder (or dried chiles that you've soaked and drained; there are a lot of recipes online), about a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and a teaspoon or so each of ground coriander and caraway (you'll have to grind the caraway yourself, or at least crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle). Combine everything with a good pinch of salt in the food processor until it forms a smooth paste. This makes about a pint, but it stores in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

Chop a head of cauliflower (I include the leaves and core; just chop into smaller bits) and cook it in a heavy skillet with enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom. Add some salt and cook over medium high heat until it's starting to brown, maybe 15 minutes. Add a chopped red onion, cook for another 5 minutes, then add a couple of cups of cooked chickpeas (aka garbanzos or ceci). Stir in a healthy dollop of your harissa, squeeze half a lemon over the whole thing and eat warm or at room temperature.

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