Tag Archives: Harissa

Superbowl Party Dips for Vegetables and Chips

Cruditees and dip tastefood

I am a diehard playoffs fan. Which is to say I am pretty oblivious to any sports season – until it gets to the playoffs. My last minute interest is amplified when it’s a Boston or a San Francisco team, due to history and my current zip code. As you can imagine, this can pose a dilemma. I have found myself at times the lone cheerleader for the other team, the guest-non-grata, risking loss of friends or getting pelted with tortilla chips. I can’t help it. Birthright rules, and so does Boston.  This year, once again, I am gearing up for the Superbowl, where the Patriots are on their way, and fortunately this year I have absolutely no conflict of interest. I may even be invited to a party.

Superbowl Party Dips for Vegetables and Chips

I get the chips, but if I am going to nosh for 3 hours while I watch a football game, I crave vegetables too. Here are a few of my favorite dips that go well with chopped veggies and chips alike – including this recipe for Guacamole

carrot hummus tastefoodCarrot Harissa Hummus

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Dip 

tsatsikiGarlicky Greek Yogurt Dip (Tsatsiki)

green olive tapenade tastefoodOlive and Almond Tapenade

Roasted Cauliflower with Chilies, Lemon and Mint

cauliflower tastefoodEat your vegetables – Roasted Cauliflower

It’s a hunch, but I would be willing to bet that you could persuade the most ardent veggie haters to try this cauliflower recipe. Roasting cauliflower magically transforms the snow white crucifer with cabbage-y notes into a tender yet crispy, caramelized treat, coaxing out its natural sweetness and nuttiness. Simple seasonings, such as paprika, salt and pepper gently enhance the flavor. You can serve it simply like that, or go the full Monty and toss it with chilies, lemon and mint.

Roasted Cauliflower with Chilies, Lemon and Mint

Sambal Olek is a Southeast Asian chili sauce. It’s Middle Eastern cousin, Harissa, may be substituted. Serves 4.

1 large head cauliflower
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Finely grated zest from 1/2 lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Harissa or Sambal Olek

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the cauliflower, top to bottom into 3/4-inch slices. (Slicing the cauliflower will provide flat sides which will brown easily when roasting). Cut away the thick stems, and gently break the florets apart into large bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add the garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Gently toss to coat, then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Some of the florets will break into small pieces, but that’s ok – the little bits will get nice and brown while roasting.

Roast on the bottom rack in the oven until the cauliflower turns brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the top third of the oven and continue to roast until golden brown on top and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with extra olive oil. Drop small spoonfuls of sambal olek over the cauliflower and garnish with lemon zest and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra chile sauce on the side.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb Kefta Skewers

Lamb Keftas TasteFood
~ Grilled Moroccan Lamb Keftas, Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Tsatsiki ~

There is something utterly complete about this meal. Homemade ground lamb keftas, fragrant with Moroccan spices, are grilled until crisp and succulent. Served with a sweet and spicy red pepper puree and cool minty yogurt sauce, these addictive morsels hit all flavor notes. They are a great option for party food, easy to prepare in advance and economical in ingredients. Just be warned that your guests will inhale these skewers before you blink, so you might need to splurge on a double recipe.

Spicy Lamb Kefta Skewers

Serves 4 to 6

Keftas:
2 pounds ground lamb
1 small onion, minced, about 1 cup
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Pre-soaked bamboo skewers
Extra-virgin olive oil

Tsatstiki:
1 1/2 cups whole milk Greek yogurt
1 small English cucumber, seeded, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of Tabasco

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Pita bread
Fresh mint leaves

Prepare the keftas: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to combine, without over-mixing. With a light hand, form a handful of the meat around a skewer into a sausage, about 2-inches long by 1-inch wide. Place on a tray or platter. Repeat with remaining meat. Lightly brush the keftas with olive oil. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Prepare the tsatsiki: Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Keep refrigerated until use.

Grill the keftas over medium heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning once or twice. (Or broil in the oven). Serve warm with tsatsiki, red pepper sauce and pita. Garnish with mint leaves.

Salmon Wrapped in Kale Leaves with Harissa

Salmon Kale
~ Salmon Wrapped in Kale with Dill and Harissa ~

In this latest installment of Cooking for your Health, the focus is on promoting health and weight loss without sacrificing the pleasure of good food. Low-fat, nutrient-rich diets do not need to be boring or tasteless. This recipe for Salmon Wrapped in Kale Leaves with Dill and Harissa proves just that. It’s a healthy and delicious meal which will nourish your body and provide essential vitamins, nutrients and protein.  It’s also an easy recipe to prepare, yielding elegant, dinner-party results which will be enjoyed by all, whether they are on a diet or not.

Salmon is a top protein choice low in saturated fat, rich in vitamins B and D, minerals and Omega-3 amino acids. Teamed up with kale, a cruciferous superfood packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, you have a dream meal that is a nutritional powerhouse and tastes great, too. The earthy kale leaves pair beautifully with rich and buttery salmon. A squirt of harissa and a few frizzy dill sprigs crown the wraps with vibrant heat, color and spice. Eating for your health doesn’t get any better than this.

Baked Salmon and Kale Wraps with Dill and Harissa

A spoonful of homemade harissa brightens this simple recipe. Sriracha may be substituted for the harissa. Serves 4 as a dinner course or 8 as a light lunch.

16 large kale leaves
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch dill sprigs with stems
1 lemon, halved
4 thick salmon fillets, about 8 ounces each, halved
Freshly ground black pepper

Harissa or Sriracha sauce

Remove and discard the tough stems and ribs from the kale, leaving the leaves in tact. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale leaves, and blanch briefly, 15 seconds. Transfer to ice water to cool. Drain and dry thoroughly on a kitchen towel.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat bottom of a baking pan with olive oil. Select 8 large dill sprigs without stems and set aside. Scatter remaining dill sprigs with stems over bottom of pan. Brush salmon filets with olive oil. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over the salmon. Lightly season all over with salt and pepper. Place salmon on kale leaf. Wrap leaf around salmon. If necessary, use another kale leaf to sufficiently cover.  Arrange the the kale-wrapped salmon over the dill in the baking pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining salmon and kale. Brush olive oil and squeeze more lemon over the fish. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Bake in oven until salmon is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with a spoonful of harissa.

Baked Salmon and Kale Wraps with Dill and Harissa

Salmon Kale

Beautiful green Tuscan kale and fresh atlantic salmon from the market along with deliriously happy dill growing in the garden were the inspiration for this recipe. The salmon fillets are wrapped in kale leaves with a little lemon and dill and then baked on a bed of more dill. To top off the salmon, a spoonful of homemade Harissa is added as a garnish. This dish is simple, fresh, delicious and healthy.

Salmon Kale Baked

Baked Salmon and Kale Wraps with Dill and Harissa
Other herbs or a combination may be substituted for dill; try parsley, mint or coriander. Fennel is another good substitute. Makes 8.

8 large kale leaves
Salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch dill sprigs with stems
1 lemon
4 thick salmon fillets, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
Harissa (or sriracha)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale leaves, and blanch briefly, 15 seconds. Transfer to ice water to cool. Drain and dry thoroughly on a kitchen towel.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat bottom of a baking pan with olive oil. Select 8 large dill sprigs without stems and set aside. Scatter remaining dill sprigs with stems over bottom of pan.
Cut lemon in half. Set one half aside. Remove the skin, pith and pits from the remaining half and cut in 4 slices. Cut each slice in half so there are 8 segments.
Brush salmon filets with olive oil. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Top each filet half with a dill sprig and lemon slice. Place salmon on kale leaf. Wrap leave around salmon and place on dill in baking pan, seam side down. Repeat with remaining salmon and kale. Brush Salmon and Kale wraps with olive oil. Squeeze the reserved lemon half over each wrap. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Bake in preheated 350 oven until salmon is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Garnish salmon with a spoonful of harissa. Serve with rice and additional sauce on the side.

Harissa

Harissa

It’s the little things that can sometimes make a big difference.  Harissa is one of my favorite “little” condiments that features on our table, especially during grill season.  Until now, I have only referred to it as a link in other recipes, but it’s high time that harissa gets its own post.

Harissa is a Middle Eastern condiment that is a blend of roasted peppers, chiles, garlic and ground spices.  Savory, sweet, and hot, it adds a fresh and fiery component to grilled meat, fish, and chicken.  Mix it in with rice dishes and tabbouleh, soups and dips, or simply eat it with a spoon.  It elevates anything it garnishes and is guaranteed to fire up your tastebuds.

Harissa
Makes about 2 cups

1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded, coarsely chopped
2-3 small red serrano chiles, stemmed, minced with seeds
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fresh coriander and/or mint leaves

Toast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and caraway seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until aromatic, about one minute. Transfer to a mortar with pestle.  Grind seeds to a fine powder.
Combine ground seeds, red peppers, chiles, garlic and olive oil in bowl of food processor.  Process until smooth, adding more olive oil, if necessary, to desired consistency.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Let sit at least one hour and up to 24 hours before serving.  (Refrigerate before use.)
Serve garnished with coriander or mint leaves.

Tip:  Adjust the heat to your taste by omitting or adding the seeds and membrane of the chiles.  Remember that there should be some heat to Harissa.