Man, I am so excited. I finally tried my hand at harissa, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Don’t know if you’ve ever had harissa, but back when I was selling hummus, a company from D.C., called Cava, was demo-ing some harissa next to me, and I fell in freaking love with it.
What makes their harissa unique, and so damn good, is their use of stewed tomatoes. So I wanted to see if I could figure out a harissa with tomatoes at the base. And since I have several bags of smoked or dried peppers in my pantry, my brain put the following together
- 10-12 sun-dried tomatoes (I used Bella Sun Luci)
- 1 red pepper
- 2 ancho peppers (dried poblanos, check a Mexican grocery store)
- 1 smoked ghost pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- Salt, caraway, ground coriander, parsley
- Lemon juice
- Red wine vinegar
My method was quite simple. I roasted the red pepper and sun dried tomatoes at 350 degrees. I pulled the sun-dried tomatoes out after about 10 minutes, then kept roasting the pepper about 20 more minutes. After it was roasted, I let it cool until I could handle it, and I pulled the skin off.
Meanwhile, I submerged the ancho peppers and ghost pepper in a glass of water. Likewise, I soaked the now roasted sun-dried tomatoes in a separate glass of water.
Then, I simply combined all the ingredients in my food processor, adding a few shakes of each of the seasonings.
I used the lemon juice and red wine vinegar for flavor, preservation, and pasty consistency, 1 tablespoon at a time. In all, I think I used 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1-1/2 or 2 of red wine vinegar. Added a little more salt, and bam. I have a delicious African condiment. Goes great on sandwiches, meat, pita bread, mixed with hummus, whatever!
I’m not sure roasting the sun-dried tomatoes was necessary, so next time I’ll probably try it without and see how it compares.