I love roasted potatoes for Friday night, but sometimes they can get a bit boring. Of course you can dress up your potatoes with za’atar, mustard or even truffle oil just to name a few of the hundreds of ways you can make roasted potatoes.
But I have been perusing a lot of middle eastern cookbooks lately and I got it into my head to make a harissa dipping sauce to go with potatoes. What is harissa? It’s a spicy chili paste native to North African cuisine and varies from country to country but typically includes dried chilis, garlic, olive oil and spices like coriander, cumin, caraway and mint.
If you have never made harissa before, don’t get scared. It is much easier than you might imagine. I really liked this how-to guide from The Kitchn which explains how to use various ingredients to make the spicy paste. When I went to make this recipe for Shabbat last week I opened my cabinet and was like “Oh f@$%ck! I don’t have any of the right kinds of peppers.” But I ended up using two different kinds of dried peppers that I did have, a regular old red bell pepper I roasted under my broiler, garlic cloves, fresh mint, olive oil and tomato paste. There are countless ways to make harissa, so you can use what you have on hand, research your favorite combination or (gasp) just buy some at the supermarket.
At the last minute I decided to marinate my potato wedges in lemon, herbs, garlic and olive oil for a complimentary flavor to the spicy harissa and I was not disappointed. If you have the time, I would recommend marinating your potatoes 1-2 hours ahead of time to intensify the flavors.
These were anything but boring Friday night potatoes and there wasn’t a single leftover potato during cleanup. You can go back to simple roast potatoes next week, but why not try something a little different this week.
For the potatoes:
4 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch thick wedges
juice and zest from two large lemons (or 3 small ones)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
For the harissa mayo:
1 cup mayo
3 Tbsp harissa
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine lemon juice and zest, parsley, minced garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss potatoes with mixture and allow to sit up to 2 hours.
While potatoes marinate, combine mayo and harissa. Add more or less depending on your taste for spice.
Grease two large baking sheets. Spread potatoes in an even layer. Roast for 20 minutes.
Flip over potatoes. Roast for another 20-25 minutes or until crisp and golden. Serve warm with harissa mayo for dipping.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.