Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Very rarely do I take the time to make my own condiments. They're so easily overlooked when the store-bought versions come so prettily packaged and just so darn convenient. For this, I'm sorry. Because condiments are a big deal in my daily eating, a big deal. I go through a slew of salad dressings (Brianna's Honey Mustard and Hidden Valley Ranch are my favorites), all sorts of flavored mustards, ketchup, mayonnaise.... And don't get me started on the all the hot sauces I eat - Tabasco, Sriracha, Thai sweet chili, Chinese spicy black bean, Szechuan pepper oil, habanero jam...
But really folks, homemade condiments just taste better. Ever make Caesar dressing from scratch, with fresh grated Parmigiano and good quality, oil packed anchovies? How about mayonnaise or aioli using farm-fresh yolks and a pinch of minced garlic? Mr.S and I have been finding every excuse to go to Salt to snack on our new favorite indulgence - the duck fat fries with homemade dips. Malt vinegar, black truffle and chipotle aiolis. With a glass of Malbec and a pint of Bass to go with, it's become the perfect late night snack for a couple of townies like us.
You can find harissa in virtually every kitchen in northern Africa. It's an aromatic, versatile, red chili paste that originated in Tunisia. Often paired with chicken and lamb dishes, harissa can also be a flavorful addition to dips, soups and anything else you can spice up.
from Discovery of a Continent - Foods, Flavors, and Inspirations from Africa
makes 1 1/4 cups
If super spicy is not your cup of tea, you can use a mild chili powder instead of a hotter version. You may also use fresh hot chilis to make a smoother type of harissa.
3/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground caraway
1 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1. Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the caraway, chili powder, coriander, salt and mint and stir to combine. Let cool. Harissa can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
This is my version of eggs with hot sauce - poached eggs with harissa.
When you prick the eggs to let the creamy yolks mingle with the spicy harissa, you'll know this simple dish is a keeper. An alternative would be to whisk together eggs, heavy cream, and a tablespoon of harissa to make a soft scrambled spicy egg dish.