Sometimes you just need to turn up the heat and spice things up in your life.

Harissa IS the answer. Harissa-008

It is a spicy and aromatic chile paste that’s a widely used staple in North African and Middle Eastern cooking ~ originating from Tunisia, to be precise.

Harissa recipes vary between countries and regions, but a standard version includes a blend of hot chile peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals are also common ingredients.

Even if you love spicy food, harissa packs quite a punch. A little goes a long way.


1 red or orange bell pepper
1 medium tomato
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
coarse lemon salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roast the pepper and tomato, whole, on a parchment or foil lined baking dish until the skins are brown and bubbly – turning just a few times. This will take about 15 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 15 minutes. Rub off skin and discard the ribs and seeds (and skin) of the pepper, as well as the stem and core of the (and skin) of the tomato.
Purée all ingredients together in a high speed blender.

Serve with something to both complement and kick the heat. This deal is spicy!

Served over grilled chicken and rice with some fresh baby spinach, Brian put this one in the “oh my good god” category!

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