Last summer I discovered one of the most delicious condiments ever. I was introduced to it by my amazing friend (we’ll just call her Nabila) that was inspired to make it after a trip she made to Morocco. While there she stayed with a Moroccan family and spent some time in their kitchen watching meals being prepared.
When her travels brought her to Toronto she made this. And my mind was a little blown. It was a perfect harmony of sweet, spicy and sour. And it took the better half of the day to make.
Now Nabila is a major ingredient snob. When she cooks she’s in “the zone”, truly in tune with the food almost to a fault. She’s also really snappy during it all, so everyone just does what they’re told without question. I was given the side glance when I suggested she use jarred roasted red peppers instead of freshly roasted. And don’t even bother telling her a food processor would be faster. Everything must be finely minced by hand and tasted every step of the process.
I’m complaining here but it’s really just love. Lots of it.
My version of this harissa inspired recipe on the other hand takes 2 minutes to make with the use of a food processor and jarred peppers. So while it is missing the love it’s still delicious.
This is perfect for when you’re stumped on what to make, short on time (like Ramadan) or need to sauce up a boring meal. It doubles as a marinade as well, so you can marinate meat and vegetables in it before grilling.
It pairs perfectly with grilled meat like chicken, flank steak or lamb chops. Or even vegetables. Or eggs. It’s awesome sauce.
Moroccan Awesome Sauce
Makes 1 cup
- 4 roasted red peppers (if you’re roasting fresh peppers, use 2 peppers if they are large, with skin off)
- ¼ cup packed cilantro, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 crimson red pepper, deseeded (more if you like it hot)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (and more to top when storing in the fridge)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
In a food processor add the garlic, crimson red pepper, herbs and seasonings. Pulse until you can no longer see bits of pepper and garlic and the herbs are minced well.
Add the roasted red peppers and pulse…
…Until the peppers are finely minced. You want some texture so 3 to 4 pulses should do it.
Remove the contents into a serving bowl and add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice and mix. If you like it more citrusy add more lemon.
Serve. It will keep for up to a week in an airtight container topped with olive oil.