3 great wintry recipes calling for harissa

by Jessie K on November 5, 2012

I mentioned Jake and I have been eating a lot of harissa lately?  Well, here are the top three stand out harissa-based recipes we made last month, and if you walked into our house today you’d probably be blown back by the lingering smell of chilies.

1. Tunisian Soup with Chard and Egg Noodles

I didn’t bother buying chard since I still have rape greens growing like crazy in the garden.  I am loving the rape greens, by the way! They grow so well, the bugs have largely left them alone and they’re a great, cheap source of winter roughage that are also packed with nutrients.

2. Tunisian Carrot Salad with Harissa and Feta

This one, pulled from my beloved The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins,  was by far my favorite of the three. Not only is it relatively easy to make — I made this as part of a weeknight dinner — but we were lucky enough to score carrots straight from the garden of our friends Brendan and Susan of Stone House Farm here in Virginia. If you haven’t had a garden fresh carrot lately get thee to the nearest farm stand for a bunch before they’re gone.

  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon harissa (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1/4 cup brine cured black olives, pitted
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add carrots, and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water. Chop the carrot rounds coarsely.

In a mortar, pound the garlic to a paste with the caraway seeds and salt. Dilute the harissa with the water. If the olives are very large, chop them coarsely. Set aside a bit of feta and a few olives for garnish.

In a bowl, combine the carrots, garlic paste, and diluted harissa. Mix together well. Add the oil and vinegar and toss once more to mix well. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese and olives over the top. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. Garnish with the reserved olives and cheese and serve. Serves 4 to 6.

3. Bacon grilled cheese sandwiches with harissa

Think of this recipe for nights you’re too busy or harried to cook but still crave great grown-up flavor that warms. Leave the harissa off sandwiches meant for little ones.

Fry up some bacon. Set it aside on paper towels and drain all but a little bit of the grease from the frying pan.

Grate the cheese of your choice — Gruyere, Muenster, Gouda — on a slice of crusty bread. Top with bacon. Spread harissa on another slice. Make a sandwich.

If there’s not enough bacon grease left in the pan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat and add the sandwich to the skillet. Cover and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Melt another tablespoon of butter to the skillet and flip the sandwich. Continue to cook until the cheese is completely melted and the other side is golden. Serves 1.

Three cheers for harissa!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn November 7, 2012 at 6:47 am


Don’t forget the gyros!

Jessie K November 7, 2012 at 10:03 am



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