Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Tunisian side dish

While we're on a Middle Eastern food theme, I thought I'd share a gem of a recipe from Paula Wolfert's bible Mediterranean Cooking. When I cooked a Middle Eastern feast for some friends, I searched for a tasty but unique vegetable side dish. I decided to try this recipe because the color and texture seemed a nice compliment to the main course, but I wasn't sure how it would taste because I'd never used harissa, a red chili pepper paste from North Africa. Harissa gave the carrots a rich color and a depth of flavor that contrasted nicely with the sweetness of the carrots. The addition of olives and feta makes it perfect. The dish was a huge hit, and it has subsequently become my favorite preparation for cooked carrots.

Houriya (Carrot Salad)
Serves 6 to 8

2 lbs fresh carrots
3 large garlic cloves unpeeled
fine salt
1 t. harissa or more to taste
2 t. caraway seeds
7 t.vinegar (cider or malt)
2 to 3 t. olive oil
2 doz. small black olives
4 oz. feta

Cut carrots into thin rounds and arrange in a pot. Add 3 T. water, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until carrots are tender. Drain carrots, reserving 1T of liquid. Allow carrots to cool and then mash w/ a fork.

Blend in harissa w/ reserved cooking liquid. Add carrots, caraway, cooked and peeled garlic, and vinegar blending well. Gradually beat in oil. Correct seasoning w/ salt. Keep covered in refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. To serve, mound the carrots in a shallow serving dish and garnish w/ olives and feta.


durhamfood said...

Did you make your own harissa? If not, where did you pick some up?

Kelly said...

Neomonde in RTP on Miami has it. I'm betting the Mediterranean cafe on Franklin St. sells it.