What Is Harissa? And 5 Ways to Use It — All-Star Academy

Learn all the different ways you can use harissa so you can cook just like an All-Star.

©2013

2013

By: Leah Brickley

This week on All-Star Academy, the competition got hot (literally) when mentor Bobby Flay instructed mentee Joseph to add harissa to his tomato sauce for a surprising spin on his duck Parmesan dish.

We here in Food Network Kitchen are big fans of the spicy North African condiment, made from dried red chiles, garlic, and spices like coriander, caraway and cumin, so we cheered Joseph on as he added spoonfuls of the brick-red paste to his simmering sauce. Here’s a little harissa tutorial if you’re thinking about doing the same.

Harissa can be found in specialty food stores (or maybe even at your local market) in a tube, jar or can. It’s super-concentrated (think tomato paste), and heat levels can differ from brand to brand, so be sure to always taste it before cooking. You can add the concentrated paste straight into soups, stews and sauces, like Joseph did, or add just a few ingredients to make an entirely new condiment. Here are four other fun ways to play with harissa:

  • Mix it into softened butter and freeze into a log in parchment. Melt pats of harissa butter on grilled steak, grilled chicken or a baked potato.
  • Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, water and some salt into the paste. Use this new drizzly condiment on grain bowls or vegetables, or use it as a spicy vinaigrette for a green salad.
  • Stir harissa into mayonnaise. Use it as a dip for chicken fingers, or spread it on a sandwich.
  • Add a little harissa to your peanut butter for a spicy-sweet-salty spread. We love it on just saltine crackers for a quick snack, but you can also pair it with a little apricot preserves for a made-over PB&J.

There's only one episode left! Tune in this coming Sunday at 10|9c to find out who takes home the $50,000 cash prize.

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