Moroccan Carrot Salad with Harissa Paste

Harissa has long been a staple of North African cuisine. In countries like Tunisia, Libya, Algeria and Morocco, the peppery paste lends its garlicky flavor and vibrant red sheen to everything from lamb to fish to roasted veggies. Though harissa recipes vary wildly by region and family, the backbone of a good paste starts with an assortment of mild chilies. Chef Gary Kucy of Rupert’s at Hotel McCall prefers to use dried ancho chilies and dried red chilies, along with roasted red bell pepper, garlic and spices like caraway, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. Kucy tosses his pungent harissa paste with julienned carrots, honey, mint and cilantro to make a flavorful Moroccan Carrot Salad. The salad easily transforms into a full meal with the addition of spice-crusted seared sea scallops and a sprinkling of fresh pomegranate seeds.
By / Photography By Gary Kucy | March 15, 2015

Preparation

Harissa Paste

In a heatproof bowl, cover chiles with boiling water and allow to re-hydrate until softened, approximately 20 minutes. Drain chiles and transfer to blender with garlic, spices, vinegar, pepper and oil. Purée until smooth. Season to taste.

Paste can be used immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Moroccan Carrot Salad

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine olive oil, garlic, vinegar, honey and harissa mixture and bring to a simmer. Add carrots, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has mostly absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Garnish with mint and cilantro.

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Ingredients

Harissa Paste
  • 2 each dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 each dried red chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 garlic clove, toasted and minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, ground and toasted
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground and toasted
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground and toasted
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
Moroccan Carrot Salad
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste mixed with 5 tablespoons of water
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

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