Harissa Potatoes – Recipe

Harissa Potatoes
Potatoes with harissa, feta and dill

This was absolutely an improvisation; I’d been traveling and had very few vegetables in the house on my return, but found a few waxy potatoes lying around along with a hunk of feta and a package of dill that was still good. That got me to thinking of Middle Eastern flavors and 15 minutes later I was eating an entire recipe of this as my own breakfast. Almost a Middle Eastern take on home fries. And actually, you know if you wanted to have this as an even more substantial breakfast, a fried egg between the potatoes and the feta would be amazing.

But really this dish would be more appropriate as part of a meze, a selection of small dishes to make a meal. For that use, I would serve it warm or at room temperature. Serve this up with good pita, good hummus, real tabbouleh, maybe a tomato salad and chickpea fritters and you’d have a fress.

I cooked the potatoes entirely in the skillet, but you could also par-cook them in the microwave or salted boiling water to ensure more even and faster cooking in the skillet.

Harissa is a Moroccan spice paste that is quite hot; don’t use the full 2 teaspoons if you don’t order 4 stars at your local Thai place.

The harissa and preserved lemons that I keep around are usually from Mustaphas Moroccan. Delicious stuff, and they keep a long time so they are convenient to have on hand whenever dinner needs a little extra oomph. Other ideas for using them: quick mango pickle (amba), sabich, zucchini and chickpea tagine. I also like to spread harissa on the barely adequate delivery pizza we get sometimes.

Harissa Potatoes
Vegetarian, vegan if you omit the feta, and gluten free
Serves 2-3 as a side dish or part of a meze

  • 1 generous tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 pound potatoes, 1/2″ dice (skins on is fine) – Yukon Golds would be a nice choice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons harissa paste (check ingredients if you need gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon (check ingredients if you need gluten free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (omit or replace for vegan)
  • Sumac powder (optional)
  • Fresh dill
  1. Add the olive oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook for 1 minute, until it begins to soften. Add the potatoes, harissa, preserved lemon, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender in the middle. It helps to cover the pot so that the tops of the potatoes are steaming a bit while the bottoms are browning. Uncover for the last couple of minutes.
  2. To serve, taste and adjust seasoning. You might need more salt, harissa, or preserved lemon. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with the feta cheese, a sprinkle of sumac and a very generous amount of fresh dill (leaves and tender stems).

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, October 29th, 2012 in Breakfast, Favorites, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

15 Responses to “Harissa Potatoes – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    These look fabulous!! Anything with sumac. i have yet to try harissa! Thanks for the lovely recipe!

  2. Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Oooh I love the idea of adding a fried egg, that sounds like the perfect addition to make a fully satisfying breakfast. I have all but two of the ingredients needed to make these potatoes, so I’ll have to grab those last two and give it a go!

  3. Reply
    Anne Campbell
    October 29, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Michael, do you ever make your own harissa? I make mine every few months, and it keeps well in a jar in the refrigerator, especially if I put a little layer of olive oil over the top. Plus it’s dirt-cheap to make if you keep a few spices and dried peppers in the house.

    • Reply
      October 29, 2012 at 7:59 am #

      I have made a version of it, yes; I’m always a little leery of how long it is safe to keep homemade stuff since I’ve never really learned about canning etc., but I’ve made small batches to use in soups and tagines. Definitely delicious!

  4. Reply
    Anne Campbell
    October 29, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I figure that the harissa is so packed with chiles, olive oil, and salt that bacteria wouldn’t really stand a chance! I’ve never had trouble with it going bad or making anyone sick.

    You can also make it in fairly small amounts – I think my recipe makes about half a cup at most, so it’s not like it’s going to sit around for years (especially given how much my husband and I love North African food).

  5. Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    I love the Thai restaurant heat guage. I’ll have to borrow that one.

    This dish would make a perfect breakfast, especially topped with a sunny side egg. I’ve got everything and it’s not yet 9am here in Australia. I’m going to love it!

  6. Reply
    October 29, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Delicious!! I’m a sucker for harissa anything and usually have some homemade harissa in my fridge – in fact, besides the preserved lemon (need to make a new batch) I’ve got all the ingredients for this on hand! May need to make this week!

  7. Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 3:12 am #

    Great recipe! I love the pictures- they’re so vibrant.

  8. Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    great recipes. looks so delicious. can’t wait to try this.

  9. Reply
    October 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    looks so delicious. Thanks for this great recipes!

  10. Reply
    November 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    I was introduced to harissa a couple of years ago and love it. I don’t cook with it enough! These potatoes look great.

    I saw you featured in Vegetarian Times while I was looking through it last night – congratulations!!!

  11. Reply
    December 4, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    Two of my favorites – hot and spicy, and preserved lemons! A fantastic recipe!

  12. Reply
    December 5, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    This looks amazing! Yum. This reminds me that I so need to get a jar of preserved lemons going in the fridge.

  13. Reply
    April 12, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Harissa, preserved lemon AND dill? With potatoes? Yes please!

  14. Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    I’m sorry to say I haven’t used harissa in as many recipes as I should have. Your picture & recipe have convinced me I need to experiment much more.

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