"Eggscellent", our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi's recipes. And this month's Optional Monthly Community Recipe (OMCR) is Harissa. I'm actually cheating with the making of Harissa, we are supposed to make Harissa paste from Ottolenghi's recipe, but since I've already made a jar of Harissa paste before the OMCR was announced and which is not an Ottolenghi recipe, I'll just use it to make an egg dish, recipe of Ottolenghi's.
Homemade Harissa Paste
Originally, this recipe is called Scrambled Eggs with Merguez and Preserved Lemon. Merguez is a spicy North African sausage and of course it is impossible to find over here. So I have omitted that and decided to make this scrambled eggs a vegetarian dish. This recipes uses Harissa Paste (refer to the bottom of the post) and Preserved Lemons, which I've shared it previously, here.
I have used one large russet potato which are sliced to 1/4" thickness and cut to pieces. The onions are first sauteed, then the potatoes, sausage (if using), garlic, caraway seeds, turmeric powder, harissa and tomato paste are added, fry for a couple of minutes. Pour some water and let it simmer till potatoes are tender and water has evaporated. I've added in some salt to taste, even though the recipe does not calls for it. It needs the salt, maybe because I did not use the merguez sausages. I've got to add in a small amount of water a couple of times as the potates takes about 10 minutes to soften.
The eggs are whisk with some salt and pepper and double cream, which I have replaced with milk. This mixture is then poured over the hot potato and gently stir until cooked. Stir through the chopped preserved lemon, taste for seasoning and serve with a sprinkling of chopped fresh coriander leaves.
Review : There's a hint of spiciness from the Harissa paste, and a mild spice fragrance from the caraway seeds. The preserved lemons adds a nice interesting bite. This dish is just OK for me, maybe because I did not use the Merguez sausages or any sausages, which I think really contributes to the final taste of this dish. I may try this dish again if there's Merguez sausages available just to compare with and without the sausages, otherwise, I would not bother cooking this dish again.
IHCC featured chef : Yotam Ottolenghi
Please do stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) to view what my friends have made for the theme of this week, "Eggscellent", and if you are interested to join us, please find out more details from IHCC.
Scrambled Eggs with Merguez and Preserved Lemons
(adapted from guardian.com, Yotam Ottolenghi)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, thinly sliced
200gm charlotte potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/2cm thick
150gm merguez sausages, sliced on an angle 1cm thick
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp harissa paste
1/2 tsp tomato paste
8 medium eggs
50ml double cream
salt and pepper
10gm preserved lemon, flesh and skin, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped coriander or parsley
Put a large saute pan on a medium to high heat, add the oil and cook the onion for five minutes to soften. Add the potato, sausage, garlic, caraway, turmeric, harissa and tomato paste, and fry for two minutes. Pour over 100ml water and simmer for eight minutes, until the potato and sausages are cooked and the water has evaporated (add a little more water if you need to cook it longer).
Whisk the eggs and cream with a quarter-teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the hot potato mix, reduce the heat to low, and gently stir until just cooked. Stir through the preserved lemon, taste for seasoning and serve sprinkled with coriander or parsley.
Homemade Harissa Paste
50gm dried chillies
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more to cover the top for storage
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
1 tsp tomato paste
- Snip dried chillies at an angle diagonally, cutting along the centre to release the seeds. Drop the snipped chillies into a colander. Shake colander with the snipped dried chillies to drop off the seeds. Rinse chillies under running water and place in a small pot, cover chillies with water. Let it come to a boil for 2-3 minutes, turn off heat, cover saucepan and let chillies soak in hot water for about 15-20 minutes. Drain chillies well.
- Place the spices in a small dry saucepan over medium-low heat and dry-fry for a few minutes, stirring often, until fragrant. Transfer spices to a plate and let cool.
- Blend chillies, spices and all the other ingredients to a fine thick paste. Adjust the lemon juice and salt to taste.
- Transfer paste to a jar, pour some olive oil to cover paste, seal and store the jar in refrigerator.