New Condiments!

image378Harissa is a chili sauce originally from Tunisia, although it is popular throughout North Africa and also in France, where mass-produced versions are ubiquitous, much like ketchup is in North America. We sell a couple of different types from Morocco and France and as much as I enjoy having something like this in a tube, harissa is much, much better when it is homemade. Aside from the fresh garlic and lemons (both optional), we sell all of the requisite ingredients. Traditionally, piri-piri (or bird's eye) peppers are the primary ingredient for harissa, but guajillo peppers are easier to find around here and are considerably less expensive, so those are what I use.

The following is a basic harissa-making method that can be easily tailored to fit your particular tastes. The spices can be omitted if you want it to be more plain.




Dried Guajillo Peppers (a few will do)
Olive Oil
Fresh Garlic
Fresh Lemon Juice

Begin by reconstituting the peppers in hot water. I put them in a saucepan covered in water. I bring that to a boil, turn the flame off and let it sit, submerged, several hours - until the peppers (skins included) are quite soft. In the meantime, add the salt and spices to taste in a mortar and grind away. I like to toast my spices first. Next, put the spices and the peppers in a food processor along with the garlic cloves. Some people say that true harissa should not contain seeds, others don't care. I remove them, but I don't bother to be very careful about it. A few seeds are OK. While the peppers, spices and garlic are being mixed, add the olive oil until it is the right consistency, then add the lemon juice to taste. Its viscosity will vary depending on how much olive oil you use. When finished, put your harissa in a glass jar and top with more olive oil to keep it fresh. For a classic harissa experience, use it with cous cous and merguez, which are also available at the store.

Once you’ve tried homemade mayonnaise, you’ll never go back.

1 each large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Salt to taste (at least a half teaspoon, usually a teaspoon or more – and I find I do need more when I make this in the food processor)
1 cup Maestri Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon mustard (optional)

You can make this in a food processor (with a metal blade), a blender, or in a bowl with a whisk – but my preference is in my stand mixer with the whisk attachment. The key to mayonnaise made in a food processor or blender is not to overprocess to the point that the mayonnaise heats up. If that happens, the sauce will separate. Not good. This doesn’t happen in the stand mixer scenario or when you make it by hand. I find I also get a much lighter mayonnaise when I make it in the stand mixer than when I make it in the food processor.

Whether by hand or machine, combine the first three ingredients in the bowl or blender jar just until thoroughly mixed.

With the machine running or while whisking vigorously, begin to stream the oil by drops (fairly slowly at first) into the egg/lemon mixture. As the mayonnaise begins to take shape you can add oil a little more quickly, but never much faster than a very thin stream. I find, again, that the stand mixer is the most forgiving on these points. And, remember, you don’t want the mixture to get hot or it will break.

At last, when you’ve added all your oil, taste the sauce and adjust the salt as needed. This is also the stage at which you can add flavorings – such as the mustard I mention.

Note: omit the lemon juice and add a fair amount of garlic and you’ve made a simple aioli.

Amount Measure Ingredient
——– ———— ——————————–
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
5 tablespoons paprika

Combine in food processor and pulse until well-blended, or mix thoroughly in a large bowl. The recipe doubles or tripes well.

From the Gumbo Pages, by Chuck Taggart

Anchovy Butter is a classic of French cuisine and works beautifully on baguette plain or on canapés as base for other ingredients, such as shrimp and sweet pepper. 

Take 3 ounces of good anchovies and soak them for a few hours in cold water, changing the water every half hour or so, to desalt them a bit.  Otherwise I use marinated white anchovies to good effect.  Either way, dry the anchovies well.  The next step is to combine them, with mortar and pestle (classically) or in a food processor (at my house), with about 7 ounces of unsalted butter – sweetest possible.  Press the resulting mixture through a sieve or fine strainer.  Serve on slices of warm baguette or on canapés as desired