Harissa is a fiery paste which is commonly used in North African cuisine. You see it show up in Tunisian and Moroccan food quite often. It is packed with flavor and comes in many varieties, but common ingredients are chilies, olive oil, garlic, sundried tomatoes, salt, coriander, cumin and caraway seeds.
You can certainly make your own, but for a quick meal, I always have some on hand. It’s a versatile ingredient and can be used in many ways. That being said, I’m particularly fond of it with fish, shrimp, vegetables and anything grilled. It’s amazing in shakshouka, makes a mean mayonnaise and would certainly be great paired with any grilled meat.
I decided to make this at the last minute, so having the paste on hand was essential. It’s not often that you can find a recipe with only three ingredients that tastes this good.
Harissa du Cap Bon, Zamouri, Mina and Traditional Harissa Spread by Les Moulins Mahjour (this is the brand I use, as it’s made by a family in Tunisia and organic) are a few brands that are easy to find online. You can even find brands that come in a tube. Just find a brand that you enjoy and experiment. However, if you have the time, make your own. It keeps for up to 6 months in the fridge.
3/4 lb raw Shrimp, peeled with tails on.
2 Tbsp Harissa Paste
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Put your shrimp into a medium sized bowl and toss with the harissa paste. Cover and allow to marinate for 2-3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove shrimp from the refrigerator and preheat your grill or broiler to high heat. I really enjoy doing this on my range top griddle pan.
Quickly lay your shrimp on the griddle pan using tongs and cook about 2 minutes on one side and turn and then another 2 minutes, add a squeeze of lemon and remove and serve over rice, pilaf or roasted cauliflower rice.
Hint: As I store my harissa in the refrigerator, I find it can be a little tacky when I first take it out. A little splash of olive oil loosens it right up.