Big Girls, Global Kitchens: Green Harissa Salmon

OTHER BGSK MOROCCAN FAVORITES: Merguez and Chard Tagine; Moroccan Chickpeas; Fish Tagine with Chermoula, Preserved Lemon and Mint

I have a bit of an obsession with Taim, a little hole-in-the-wall falafel place in the West Village. Their falafel might be the best in the whole city. They are also gluten-free, which is a huge win.

You can consider this a two-part ode to Taim. Next week, I’ll share a recipe for gluten-free spicy red falafel inspired by their kitchen. But today we’re focusing on my favorite category of food: condiments. And Taim happens to have condiments in spades.

My favorite is a thick, herby, spicy sauce, served alongside nearly every order. The best name I came up for for it was green harissa. Harissa is a typical Moroccan condiment that can be easily found in the international aisle of most grocery stores these days. It’s like the Moroccan sriracha–that thick, pungent red chili paste that adds a punch to any sauce or side dish. Though Taim is an Israeli joint, they use harissa in their spicy falafel.

Green harissa is not something I came across much in Morocco, nor is it something you find on the shelves. In fact, until I found a recipe in the July issue of Bon Appetit, I wasn’t sure it was something that actually existed. It’s more like the Moroccan equivalent of chimmichuri. It’s best made fresh, but can keep in the fridge for up to a week if needed. Upon finding the recipe, I took it upon myself to make it immediately, and then do so again and again all summer long. It’s quickly become my go-to marinade for fish, like this salmon, but also steak or chicken. And my go-to condiment for slathering on top of the protein after it’s charred on the grill.

I highly recommend you work it into your weekly repertoire—the effects are magical.

From my kitchen, bringing a little Taim magic to yours,



Green Harissa
Makes about 1 ½ – 2 cups

The lime isn’t traditional, but I think it adds a nice punch. You can omit it if you plan on keeping the sauce in the fridge for a while. Both times I made this I put the spinach and cilantro into the food processor directly after washing it, so there was some extra moisture. If you have a hard time pureeing until smooth, add a tablespoon of water and see if that does the trick.


2 cups roughly chopped cilantro leaves and stems (about 1 bunch)
1 ½ cups tightly packed baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 serrano chile, (seeds and all) roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
½ lime, juiced (optional)

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding water if necessary. If eating immediately, add the lime juice. Otherwise, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Grilled Green Harissa Salmon
Makes 4 servings

2 pounds salmon filets
2 cups green harissa (recipe proceeds)

Arrange the salmon in a baking dish. Pour half the green harissa over the salmon and using your hands, spread it evenly on all sides of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan. Brush it with oil. Grill the salmon, one fillet at a time, flesh-side down until opaque halfway up the sides, about 4 minutes. Flip the fish, and cook skin-side down until cooked to your desired doneness, about 5-7 minutes more for medium-rare.

Serve the salmon alongside the remaining green harissa to use as a condiment.


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