Chef/restaurateur Yaniv Cohen, aka “The Spice Detective,” has a fascination with spices — medicinally, historically, aromatically and culinarily. The spice-rich cuisines of his Middle Eastern and North African heritage speak in My Spiced Kitchen: A Middle Eastern Cookbook (2019, Page Street Publishing Co.).
Cohen leads a culinary tour of the Middle East as he shares 70 recipes that introduce the 15 essential spices of this flavor-paced cuisine. Find classic dishes like Cumin Shaksunka, Sumac-Spiced Fatoush Salad and Baharat-Scented Kofta, to inventive, spice-infused dishes like Tumeric-Roasted Cauliflower, Watermelon, Feta, Nigella and Sumac Summer Salad, or Fresh Strawberries Stuffed with Clove-Spiced “Cheesecake” Mousse.
6 medium-to-large carrots
4 quarts salted water
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
6 cloves garlic, slivered
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Harissa with Caraway, Cumin and Coriander or red pepper flakes
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
In a medium pot, cook carrots in salted water over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender but not too soft. Remove carrots from pot, slice into 1/3-inch thick slices.
In a large bowl, place carrots, caraway, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and harissa.
If you don’t have harissa and would like to add some extra kick, use red pepper flakes instead. Mix well, adjust the seasoning, sprinkle cilantro over the salad and serve.
Chef’s tip: Serve this alongside other appetizers, such as hummus, tahini, olives and pita bread.
Harissa with Caraway, Cumin and Coriander
12-14 dried New Mexico chiles
1 teaspoon each cumin, caraway and coriander
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1-1/2 teaspoons Celtic salt
8-12 cloves garlic
Place chile peppers in a medium bowl, cover with water and let sit for about 2 hours, or until chiles soften.
Drain chile peppers.
Remove stems of each pepper, but keep seeds and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor with the cumin, caraway, coriander, olive oil, salt and garlic.
Purée, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of bowl, until paste is smooth but not completely puréed. It should be a bit crunchy.
Transfer to a 1-pint glass jar and top it with oil until ingredients are submerged, leaving at least 1/2 inch of oil above the paste.
Harissa paste will keep for up to three weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes about 2 cups.