Give Your Olives Some Harissa Kick, Here’s How

Normally found as a paste, harissa is a fiery condiment from North African made from ground hot chile peppers, garlic and various spices. We took the ingredients that you would find in harissa and used them to wake up some olives for a robust salame platter.

total time: 10 minutes

active prep: 10 minutes

serves: 6

difficulty: easy


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 strips lemon zest, about 1-inch wide
  • 4 dried red chiles, such as chile de arbol
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups mixed olives, with or without pits, drained of brine
  • Salame assortment, for serving


Heat the oil, lemon strips, chiles, garlic, caraway, coriander and cumin seeds in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until the spices become fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Carefully add the olives (step back, the oil will spit), lower the heat and continue stirring to coat the olives in the seasonings. After 2 or 3 minutes, the chiles will darken and the garlic will turn golden. Remove from the heat. Let cool a bit before serving as part of a salame plate. The flavor improves with time.

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