Harissa

Harissa

By
From
Best Kitchen Basics
Makes
500 g
Photographer
Petrina Tinslay

Without apology this is one white man’s version of the ubiquitous Tunisian staple. It is very versatile and partners happily with most meats, fish and ‘Mediterranean’ vegetables. Either serve it as a condiment or use it to start or complete an accompanying sauce. You can also use it as a pre-roast rub for whole fish, chicken or roasting cuts. It stores well refrigerated, so make the full amount. (You will thank me later.)

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg red capsicums
200g french shallots, sliced
3 long red chillies
100g garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon fine salt

Method

  1. Blacken the skin of the capsicums over a gas flame or by using a kitchen blowtorch. When the skins are completely charred, put the capsicums in a container with a tight-fitting lid to steam. When cool, rinse away the skins under running water and pat dry.
  2. Remove the stems and seeds. Cut the capsicums into even-sized pieces.
  3. In a frying pan over low heat, sweat the shallot, chillies and garlic in the olive oil until slightly browned and soft. Stir in the spices and salt. Add the capsicum to the pan and cook until it has softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  5. Store in sterilised jars with a little more oil to cover the surface. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Note

  • If you want the real thing, Tunisia produces about 22,000 tonnes of the stuff annually.
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