New Potatoes with Green Harissa
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Here’s another another one of those how-to-please-everyone-at-the-bbq-this-summer recipes: a vegan, gluten-, dairy- and nut-free recipe capable of basking on a sun-strewn buffet table for hours. Unfortunately, it’s not raw — gahh!
Can’t please everyone I suppose.
I first tasted this combination — potatoes with green harissa — at a potluck a few weeks ago, and I’ve been making it ever since. What I love about the harissa is its adaptability: I’ve made it with mint and cilantro, mint and thai basil, basil alone, etc. I’ve used lemon, lime, vinegar. I’ve used a whole jalapeno. I’ve made it without a chili all together. Sometimes I use cumin, sometimes I don’t. It doesn’t matter.
The upshot of puréeing herbs with garlic, olive oil and some sort of acid is a sharp, vibrant sauce fit for dressing up any boiled root vegetable, uniting disparate ingredients in a grain bowl, or drizzling over roast chicken or grilled fish.
Essentially, this harissa is a spicy, cheese- and nut-free pesto, a sauce to have on hand all summer long.
PS: More Salads & Sides
Into the food processor: a ton of basil, one halved jalapeno, two cloves garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar and a pinch of salt:
New Potatoes with Green Harissa
As I noted above, I first tasted this harissa at a potluck several weeks ago. Jodi from What’s Cooking Good Looking brought a potato salad dressed in this vibrant sauce, which she had made from Bowl + Spoon, Sara Forte’s new cookbook.
Notes: Use this recipe as a guide. Use any herb or combination of herbs: mint, cilantro, parsley, thai basil, basil, etc. I use a whole jalapeno, but seed the chili if you are sensitive to heat. I often use vinegar in place of lemon, mostly out of laziness. Recently I have been omitting the cumin, but it does add a nice smokiness if you like that sort of flavor.
As for the potatoes, this is the method I learned many years ago while working at Fork. This method only really works with small potatoes such as new or fingerlings. If you are using larger potatoes, boil the potatoes for a few minutes before turning off the heat. Once the potatoes are cool, you can eat the them as they are or you can crisp them up in olive oil with more thyme and rosemary. These potatoes are wonderful to have on hand — delicious cooked as they are, sliced and tossed into salads or as they are prepared here tossed in a spicy, green sauce.
for the potatoes:
- 1 lb. new or fingerling potatoes
- 1/4 cup + 2 T. kosher salt
- bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, garlic — if you have them on hand
for the harissa:
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 to 4 cups loosely packed herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, parsley)
- 1 hot chili (serrano or jalapeno), stemmed and seeded if you are worried about heat
- the juice of 1/2 a lemon or 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Make the potatoes: Place potatoes in a pot. Add the salt, herbs and garlic (if you are using). Cover with approximately one inch of cold water. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then turn off the heat. Let the potatoes cool completely in their liquid before proceeding. (See notes above re timing.)
- Make the harissa: Place the garlic, herbs, chili, lemon or vinegar, cumin (if using), and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Then, while the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until everything is combined. (I actually just throw everything in together and puree it all at once.) Taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. You may need more vinegar for bite. You may need more salt. You might want to thin it out with a little more olive oil. Set aside.
- When the potatoes have cooled completely, halve them and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with dressing. Season with more salt if necessary. Note: The sauce loses its bright green hue shortly after it is tossed with the warm potatoes, but it is no less delicious.
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34 Comments on “New Potatoes with Green Harissa”
This recipe looks so incredibly fresh and flavourful. We’re attending a potluck party tomorrow night and I volunteered to bring a salad. Guess what I’m going to be making? Thank you for posting – it comes at such an opportune time.
Wonderful to hear this, Marie! It will be a staple for me all summer. Just be careful with the jalapeno — as I noted, I use a whole one seeds and all, which makes the harissa incredibly spicy, which I love, but is maybe a bit much for others. I am sure you will adjust accordingly 🙂 Enjoy your potluck!
Well apparently we both have new potatoes on our mind 🙂 This looks so great! And I love that it can be served hot and cold! YUM!
So funny, Mila! Those potatoes look divine!
My daughter recently asked me for a recipe for harissa. I didn’t have one but now I do. It looks so fresh and pretty!
Loved the post of your trip to Maine and the pics of your beautiful family. I’ve got to say I love the way you travel–time spent with family and frequent trips to great bakeries. We are simpatico!
Thank you, Trish! Bakeries are so key for traveling, right? It’s so much fun discovering a new one, too. Hope you and your daughter enjoy making this harissa. I am now eager to make a more traditional red harissa — I actually didn’t know harissa could be green before making this.
Love the idea of fresh herbs and heat! This is so much more up-to-date than some other potato salad standards. I, too, have a (dreaded) potluck to go to. At least I’ll enjoy one dish. 🙂
And maybe you’ll discover something new! I love potlucks for this reason — I always find something that inspires me.
In the photo I saw you didn’t de-stem the basil – when making pesto is it alright to do this – that would certainly save a lot of time!!
No need to remove the stems! And this is true for pesto too — just purée it all together. Definitely a time saver!
I love fresh herbs. They really make the dish.
This reminds me of the mint sauce you turned me on to. (which goes well with grass fed beef ) Methinks I will trying this harissa on more than potatoes.
Yes! It would make such a great pair with so many meats. So happy you like that mint sauce as much as we do 🙂
this one looks delicoius and this seem to be all-purpose potatoes (hot/cold, main/side).
Unfortunately English is not my mother language. So could you please explain whether the potatoes are completely covered with water or if there should really just be an inch of water in the pot. If so, the potatoes which are on the top should not be covered with water, right?
Thanks for your help.
Hi Stefan! Cover the potatoes completely with water and make sure the water above the potatoes is at least an inch deep. Sorry for the confusion! So, yes, all of the potatoes will be covered with water.
This looks amazing! I love your potato method, Definitely going to try it!
Wonderful! Hope it turns out well for you, Becky!
Wow, I love this green harissa, the flavors sound wonderful! — Basil and jalapeno? Yes please. I’m such a fan of Sara Forte and of course, your recipes are always exactly as wonderful as they sound, so probably gonna need to make this asap 🙂 Happy weekend, Ali! Hope you are well!
I have a feeling you will approve, Sophie! I can’t get enough of the harissa. Happy happy weekend to you!
This recipe looked like such a “must-make-now”, especially given the heat yesterday, that it inspired a 1 AM grocery run for herbs last night – just made a batch, worth every minute! So much flavor, just the right amount of zing. Love the potato preparation method, too!
So wonderful to hear this Kathrin! Love that you ventured out at 1 am. And I’m so glad the potato-cooking method worked well for you — I love their crisp-tender texture.
You can never go wrong combining heat and basil. Looks fantastic! I just started making my own red harissa – really looking forward to trying this recipe with the bounty of basil currently at the farmers market. Maybe chili oil would even be fun to add.
Cynthia, so fun! I would love to know how you make your red harissa — it’s been on my mind since I started making this green harissa. Just searched your site — have you posted a recipe yet?
The harissa recipe is buried in my drafts folder (so many drafts, so little time). I haven’t tested it enough for publication, but here’s what I have so far if you want to play around with the ingredients. Most authentic recipes seem to call for grinding toasted seeds but I improvised. Planning to try freshly toasted/ground seeds the next time around. Harissa definitely takes turkey burgers to a new and wonderful place.
* 3 smoked dried chipotle peppers (I suppose the canned kind would work?)
* 3 dried ancho
* 2 dried guajillo
* 3-4 garlic cloves pressed
* 1/4 tsp cumin
* 1/4 tsp paprika
* 1/2 tsp coriander
* 2 tsp lemon juice
* 1/4 cup tomato confit
* Salt to taste
*** 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (I didn’t use this but practically every recipe has caraway.)
* Submerge the dried peppers in water that is just off boil, hold them down using a coffee saucer if necessary, then cover bowl with plastic.
* Broil the red pepper, sweat in a plastic bag, then remove the skin, seeds, and stem.
* Remove stems from softened peppers. (I leave the seeds since my husband and I like heat. It’s pretty spicy if you go this route.)
* Purée all of the ingredients.
* Let the harissa marry up for 24 hours and then spread on all the things.
Awesome, thanks so much for sharing this, Cynthia! I am so excited to start experimenting. Sounds so good — what a treat to have on hand.
This sounds delicious, however I’m wondering about the salt quantity. Is 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp correct? It seems like a lot.
Hi Sue, I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s actually right — this is just the quantity for cooking the potatoes. Potatoes can handle a lot of salt, and when they cool in the liquid, and then when you pull one straight from the pot, they are so flavorful and delicious. It is a shock to see that amount in the ingredient list, I know. I first wrote about this method awhile ago: https://alexandracooks.com/2010/06/20/fingerling-potatoes-with-rosemary-and-thyme-crispy-or-not/ When I learned to make them at the restaurant, the chef seriously used 3/4 of a box of Diamond Kosher salt when he cooked one batch (albeit a very large batch) of potatoes. Hope that helps!
Do the potatoes really cook in so little time? Just bring them to the boil and the turn off the heat?
Hi Peg! Yes, so little time. You have to use little potatoes — new, fingerlings, baby, etc, and the key is to let them cool completely in their liquid. They can stay in their cooking liquid for hours after they have cooled, too. I sometimes cook them first thing in the morning, let them sit in their liquid all day, then slice them up and crisp them at dinner time or slice them and toss them in a salad or most recently this harissa. Hope you are well! I haven’t seen Kim in ages.
I made a twist with the recipe. I made a pesto like sauce with the garlic scapes and added steamed peas with the potatoes. This I could eat alone with nothing else on my plate!
Yum! That sounds so good!!
Thank you!!! This recipe is excellent! I have made it twice in the 2 weeks I had the recipe. My husband and I love it!
So happy to hear this, Ann! I am loving this with the new potatoes at the markets right now.
Oh yum! Thanks for reminding me that I have a packet of basil in the refrigerator that I need to use. This looks amazing. The edamame and radish salad looks easy and wonderful too.
Of course! I know … the herbs this time of year — it’s hard to keep up!