Spice up your favorite roasted potatoes with a Middle Eastern twist for an exotic addition to breakfast, brunch, or meze spread. Not for the meek of palate this dish is meant to be spicy -with both harissa and red chile flakes, no sriracha or hot sauce is needed! Batata harra (spicy potatoes) is a Lebanese and Syrian dish that Yokam Ottolenghi says is “probably his favorite way with potatoes”, especially with grilled fish, which sounded good to me! With fresh swordfish from the farmers market, my adaption of Ottolenghi’s recipe was the perfect accompaniment to the meaty fish. Not a fish lover? Pop a plump organic chicken in the oven and roast the potatoes at the same time for a comforting no-hassle supper.
Instead of pul biber (Turkish flaked chile) I used a dried harissa spice mixed and red chile flakes mixed with olive oil to coat buttery Yukon Gold Idaho® potatoes. Harissa is also available as a paste in tubes, jars or cans and, as far as fiery red condiments go, harissa is quickly replacing Sriracha as my absolute favorite. This Tunisian chile sauce is a fantastic way to spice up everything from meat to vegetables, couscous, roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, as a dip for bread … the list is truly endless. Tunisia is a Mediterranean country in north Africa, it is not a Middle Eastern country per se, but is part of the Arab World and has many cultural connections to the Middle East.
- 1 pound Idaho® Yukon Gold* potatoes, unpeeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and minced
- 1 teaspoon harissa
- ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped into ½ inch pieces
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for three minutes. Drain in a colander. Return the pot to the stove over a low flame. Add potatoes back to the pot in two batches to cook off any remaining moisture, stirring so the potatoes don’t stick. Transfer to a bowl.
- Combine the two oils, ½ teaspoon of harissa and ground pepper, and drizzle over the potatoes. Stir gently to coat the potatoes. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, spread the potatoes in a single layer. Put them in the oven to roast and, after 10 minutes, stir in the garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon of harissa, chili flakes, red bell pepper and half of the cilantro.
- Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and nicely browned. Stir once halfway through the cooking. Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, adding the remaining cilantro just before serving.
This is the fourth recipe in my Potatoes Around the World series and I’m proud to be the featured blogger for April on the Idaho Potato Commission’s website – check out my recipes and all the other great ideas for working some magic with the ever versatile, satisfying and nutritious spud!
Entertaining idea: Mezze or Maza are appetizers. They are served throughout Middle Eastern communities, either before a larger meal or as a meal themselves. Mezze an be eaten any time of the day or night accompanied by typical Middle Eastern drinks such as Turkish coffee, spearmint tea, or iced fruit drinks. This dish of spicy harissa potatoes could be served in smaller quantities, along with a combination of dips, marinated beans and vegetables, soups, salads, olives, pickles and relishes, pilavs (pilafs) and grain salads, cheese, hot miniature stuffed pastries, plain yogurt with herbs and chopped almonds or walnuts for a sumptuous repast.
Disclosure: The Idaho Potato Commission has compensated me for the development of my Potatoes Around the World recipes.