The northern tip of Africa is home to Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Culturally, this region is more Middle Eastern than African. This Moorish influence has spread far and wide, eas vident in intricate architectural details and the use of spices in European kitchens. One such wonder is Harissa, a sweet, sometimes spicy red pepper paste hailing from Tunisia.
Recipes vary by locality and family, but this one is somewhat most typical in that it incorporates fragrant caraway and coriander seeds, garlic, sundried tomatoes which add sweetness and a rich red hue while citrus juice adds a delightful tang.
We’re blessed with ripe Cayenne peppers flourishing in our backyard veggie garden alongside tomato plants, fresh mint, basil, oregano and more! Every summer, Shawn & Daisy raid the local garden store for seedlings and plant them for us to enjoy with every meal.
Harissa does not have to be spicy. I like making mine with sweet red pepper roasted on the stovetop so my Daisy can enjoy it, but there’s a second jar made with homegrown Cayenne peppers that delivers just the right punch of heat. Harissa makes for a beautiful marinade for mild fish and chicken, tofu, and pairs beautifully with basil pesto over pasta. It’s just so delicious, I could eat it bare with bread.
Homemade Sundried Tomato Harissa
Makes ~2oz ( 10 Tb)
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 5 mins
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 red chilies or 1 sweet bell pepper
3 Tb sundried tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon or lime, juice + zest
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Toast caraway, coriander and cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan until fragrant, about 5 mins.
Toss everything into a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.
Store in a clean dry glass jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.