Harissa is a Moroccan or Tunisian--let's say North African--sauce or condiment made of chili peppers, garlic and other spices. The Middle East Restaurant in Cambridge, a local icon, serves harissa on all of it's kebab plates. Every harissa is a little different but they'll all pretty caliente. The nice thing about mixing it with mayo is you can control the heat. The recipe is how I make it but you may want to start out with half the harissa if you're chicken. This "Moustafha's Morrocan" is my favorite brand that comes from a little Middle Eastern market in the South End of Boston.
I happen to be severely allergic to eggs so "real" mayo is out but I'm making this with Veganaise which will also make this a vegan dish. Don't be scared. Vegan can still be delicious! For this recipe, you'll need mayo, harissa, a lemon (for zest) and a few springs of mint. I stole this mint from my neighbor; she'll never miss it. Thanks, Barbara!
Just one quick side note. I was low on harissa so when I went to Whole Foods I picked up this bread of "harissa spread." I would not recommend it. It tastes like sun-dried tomatoes more than harissa. I'm not saying it's bad; it's not harissa. They used to have a harissa in a little yellow can that was fine but I couldn't find it.
1 teaspoon lemon zest
When you're done, it should look like this.
This is a great dressing for any salad. I love all kinds of salads but my favorite is just a simple one made of baby greens, thinly sliced red onion, cucumber and homemade croutons. Now that I think about it, homemade croutons make anything taste good!
But let's light up the grill and make lunch. Today we're going to have a grilled eggplant sandwich with fresh tomato slices, dressed arugula greens and harissa mayonniaise.
I just throw thinly sliced eggplant on the grill, until it looks like this and then brush on a little garlic infused oil, season with salt and pepper and stack them on a plate until you're ready to make your sandwiches.
The rest I think you can figure out. Stack a few slices of eggplant on your carb of choice; today we're using a foccacia roll. Spread on some of the Harissa Mayo, a few slices of gorgeous summer tomato (or roasted sweet red peppers) and some arugula greens dressed with the vinaigrette.
Try adding about 1/2 teaspoon of rose water to a glass of fresh lemonade to complete the North African theme, and you've got a perfect summer lunch.
I had a bunch of eggplant slices left over so for dinner the next night, I spread a little of the harissa mayo on each slice of eggplant and rolled them up. These were so delicious and would be perfect on an appetizer platter of things like hummus, olives, pita chips, etc.
I hope you enjoy it!