Harrisa Madness


Last Friday night, we had a fantastic dinner with our friends, Bob and Sara.  They are an amazing duo; a restauranteur & an artist respectively.  We ate at The Misfit, one of Bob’s restaurants in Santa Monica.  The dinner was incredible and we tasted what seemed like the entire menu, including the spicy cucumber salad, slow roasted heirloom tomato salad, spiced red lentils, a delicious fried chicken sandwich, and lots more.  It was positively decadent.  They even had a fabulous beer on tap, Trumer Pils, that Alan recently discovered on a whim at The Urban Radish*.  Trumer Pils, from Berkeley via Salzburg, is somewhat new to Los Angeles and The Misfit is the first place to have it on tap.  Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not much of a beer drinker but even I love it.  It turns out you can get Trumer at BevMo now and, being the fantastic wife that I am, I bought Alan a case while I was in Pasadena the other day enjoying a total beauty day.

The next day, after an especially grueling run in Griffith Park, Alan and I stopped by Gelson’s in Silver Lake, one of my favorite markets, and bought a pile of fresh colossal shrimp.  Since there are now 2 fresh jars of harrisa, made last week, in my my refrigerator, I have been indulging my urge to put it on everything!  We came home and proceeded to peel and devein the shrimp, a not so fun part of the process that we made more palatable with reggae and beer.  Once we fired up the grill though, it was all worth it.  This recipe is very easy, packed with flavor, and perfect for a summer BBQ.  It is also very similar to one of my fatherʼs favorite recipes called, in Arabic, Hharyimi, or Poisson Malin in French.  I like to think of this recipe as an updated, lighter, non-kosher version.

BBQ Shrimp in Harrisa or Crevettes Malin

2 lbs colossal shrimp, peeled and deveined with the tail left on.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp of cumin
3 tbs of mild harrisa
1 tbs of spicy harrisa**
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp freshly crushed garlic

**if you did not make both of the harrisas use cayenne pepper to taste and add 1 more tbs of the mild harrisa

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, then add the shrimp and mix well until the shrimp are completely covered in the harissa.  Marinate for 1 hour.  Place 4 shrimp per bamboo skewer.  Cook the shrimp on the BBQ at a very high temp for 3 minutes on each side.
Serves 4

Summer Fresh Feta Salad

4 persian cucumbers cut in 1/2 then sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup of thinly sliced red bell peppers
1/2 cup of pitted Kalamata olives- cut in 1/2
1/2 of a shallot thinly sliced
1 cup of mini heirloom tomatoes- cut in 1/2
3 tbs basil- julienned
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix the first 6 ingredients together. Whisk olive oil and red wine vinegar together and toss with salad.
Serves 4

* The Urban Radish is a new market that opened in Downtown LA and it is exactly what I have been waiting for.  It has loads of beautiful organic produce, meat, cheese, wine and so much more.  I used to have to go all over town looking for organic meat and other specialty products but now they’re right around the corner!  The quality of their products certainly comes at a price but it is well worth it.  I would shop there everyday if I could and I really hope other people do too.