This popular relish is served along with many salads, mixed with olives, and, when thinned with a little oil and lemon juice, is sometimes used to flavor brochettes and couscous.
You can buy tinned harissa paste imported from Tunisia or Morocco, or substitute the Indonesian spice paste called sambal oelek. Or, if you want, you can make your own. When refrigerated, harissa keeps 2 to 3 months.
1 ounce dried red chili peppers
1 clove garlic
Salt to taste
Mortar and pestle or electric spice mill, clean jar with tight-fitting lid.
COVER the peppers with hot water and soak 1 hour, then drain and cut into small pieces.
PLACE in the mortar or spice mill and pound or grind to a puree with the garlic.
SPRINKLE with a little salt, then spoon into the jar and cover with a layer of olive oil.