Harissa Roasted Potatoes with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
Two exciting ingredients found in Tunisian cuisine are harissa and preserved lemons. Harissa is a smoky, earthy spice blend or paste. Preserved lemons are whole, quartered or sliced lemons preserved in lemon juice and salt, creating a savory lemon peel that enhances so many dishes from dips to stews to pasta and more.
This potato recipe pairs the harissa with the lemons for a perfect complement of flavors. The harissa packs a spicy punch and the preserved lemon gremolata is herby and bright and fresh. Serve as a side dish with a Mediterranean-themed meal or surprise your brunch guests with eggs and a side of these potatoes topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
For the potatoes:
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds Idaho® Yukon Gold potatoes, diced ½˝
For the gremolata:
- 1½ preserved lemons, deseeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves roasted garlic, finely chopped*
- ⅓ cup fresh herbs, finely chopped**
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
*Roast your garlic cloves by placing them in a small piece of foil with a teaspoon of olive oil, close up the foil and bake in a toaster oven or regular oven for about 20 minutes at 350°F.Raw garlic is also a good choice for a gremolata but I would use 2 or 3 cloves instead of 4.
**My favorite combination is dill and parsley but cilantro and mint would also be excellent choices. Use what you have on hand and combine herbs or use all of just one type. Or match the flavors of your main course.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix well.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes and the spice blend and mix well so all the potatoes are coated.
- Place the spice-covered Idaho® potatoes on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and roast for 20–25 minutes until tender and starting to crisp, switching shelves halfway through cooking.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the gremolata. In a medium bowl, combine the preserved lemon, garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice and mix well.
- When the potatoes are done, transfer them to your serving dish or a mixing bowl and blend with the gremolata. To preserve the crispness of the potatoes, you can also serve the gremolata on the side or create individual servings topped with a dollop of gremolata.
Variation Tip: Use other types of Idaho® potatoes or for a fancier presentation, make smashed potatoes and serve each one with a dollop of gremolata on top.
Ingredient Tip: You can make your own preserved lemons or purchase them online or at your local international market.
To Make Preserved Lemons:
- a sterilized jar (running it through the dishwasher or rinsing with boiling hot water is fine)
- unwaxed lemons
- kosher salt
- Quarter each lemon by cutting it crosswise almost to the bottom but not quite.
- Fill each quartered lemon with kosher salt – about a tablespoon in each and stuff each lemon into the jar, packing in as many you can.
- Close the jar and place it on a cool, not sunny counter. You’ll notice the lemons will compress and liquid will appear. Leave them for a week, adding an extra lemon or two if there is room.
- Squeeze enough fresh lemon juice from additional lemons to cover the salted ones, close the jar and leave it alone for another 3 weeks.
- Refrigerate and use the lemons whenever you need them. They will last indefinitely. Remember they are salty, so when you use preserved lemons, don’t add additional salt to your dish until you’ve tasted it. You can also rinse them off before using them to reduce the salty residual.