Dynamite Duos: Jay Z and Beyonce, Victoria and David, Sonny and Cher – there are some duos that just work. CSL has a series of three recipes sure to be the new all-round culinary couples du jour. In this first in the series of complimentary culinary pairs: harissa and dates. Umami explosion!
Inspired by the North African love of juxtaposing flavours, especially sweet and salty – this combo has all the feels! It also keeps really well in the fridge. Make a batch and pull it out whenever you want to add savoury piquancy to stews, soups, marinades or to accompany a cheese plate.
Great as a side dish or a meal served with couscous or pasta.
1 pound baby eggplants, halved
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 clove of minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed chili pepper
Harissa Date Paste
5 tablespoons harissa
¼ cup pitted whole dates
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed
1 tablespoon flat leafed parsley, chopped
2 teaspoon tahini
½ teaspoon water
Soak dates in just enough water to cover them completely at least 3 hours. Set over medium heat in a pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes until mixture is a thick paste. Stir in harissa. Meanwhile use a knife to score each half of eggplant in crosshatch pattern. Spoon a ½ teaspoon of paste on each half of eggplant. Place in an oven set at 350F for 30 minutes or until eggplant is soft. To make the yogurt dip, in a bowl, stir to combine all ingredients. To serve, combine tahini and water in a bowl until it achieves pouring consistency. Use more water, a drop at a time, if necessary. Place a dollop of yogurt dip on a plate, and top with 2-3 eggplant halves per person. Sprinkle with parsley, and sesame. Drizzle with tahini.
Al’Fez Authentic Harissa
A unique style of ‘hot sauce’, harissa, a north African blend of chili, garlic, olive oil, cumin and other spices, imparts a soulful, earthy, pleasant heat instantly. Use in marinades, add to stews, or use alone as a condiment. A little goes a long way. 90ml; alfez.com
Windset Farms Adagio Baby Eggplants
A staple of the Mediterranean pantry, this versatile vegetable is ideal for vegetarians or as the centerpiece of a meatless meal. These small eggplants are just the size for individual servings: fry for a contrasting soft-crisp texture or stuff with rice and beans for a delicious and nutritious dinner. 1.75lb bag; windsetfarms.com
Eden Foods Organic Hot Crushed Chili Pepper
These spicy flakes are less spicy than chili powder, but still pack a punch. Organically ground in India, they are great in a variety of cuisines from Southwestern to Italian. Sprinkle a teaspoon into marinades, salad dressings, beans, and stews for a gentle back of the throat tickle. 32g; store.edenfoods.com
This original recipe article first appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.