Harissa (pronounced huh-REE-suh) is a Tunisian chile paste often used as a meat rub or a condiment. It's smoky, slightly sweet and spicy flavor adds punch to Tunisian couscous, fish dishes, or in soups or stews. Recipes vary, but it often includes smoked chili peppers, coriander, garlic, cumin, and sometimes tomatos.
Usually, you find it sold in small cans. I hate this because I often only need a tablespoon or less, and the rest of it often goes bad in the fridge before I can use it. So I was delighted to find Harissa -- en tube! (as the box proudly proclaims) at Nicole's Gourmet Foods in South Pasadena (you can also find it online). This toothpaste-tube-like container has a tight screw top and I imagine it can last in your fridge for months.
I haven't experimented nearly enough with this fragrant paste, but I like the following harissa vinaigrette over wilted spinach with Moroccan Spiced Salmon. If you have other ideas/favorite dishes, send them my way!
1 tbsp. harissa
1 tbsp. sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
Whisk the harissa, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper together in small bowl. Slowly stir in olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, whisking all the while so the mixture emulsifies.