This tasty little number makes as good a lunch as it does a fast dinner, late-night snack or appetizer - maybe even breakfast for the strong of stomach and brave of taste buds. The harissa is a red hot pepper paste with caraway, coriander, garlic and salt. You may find it in your ethnic food aisle, or you may have to search it out in a mediterranean or middle eastern food store. It is the indistinguishable twin of tomato paste, visually, but do not be fooled by the unassuming visage, because unlike mild and ubiquitous tomato paste, this one saunters right up and pops you in the kisser. I had some half an hour ago and I swear, after being stuffy all week, my sinuses are still clear now. Not to scare you off - it is not like sucking on a habanero. This stuff has flavor to back up the heat. Just be warned, and restrained, on first approach.
The vegetal parsley, salt-laden lemon and tuna-y tuna wafting up from the bowl smell just like the ocean, to me (with freshly cleared sinuses). It makes a tangy, green contrast to the fiery pepper undercoat lurking below.
Tunisian preserved lemon and tuna sandwiches.
1 6.4 ounce pouch tuna (I used chunk light albacore)
1/2 preserved lemon, peels only (from 4 wedges), sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh parsley*, chopped
harissa, for spreading
bread, any kind, toasted or not
* I am assuming that, among other things, your fresh herbs are pre-washed and dried. I also like to use some of the thinner parsley stems along with the leaves, and chop coarsely for added crunch.
Thinly slice the bread and put on to toast. I find it especially good just as it starts to char. That's just me.
Empty the tuna into a bowl and mash lightly with a fork. It's nice to have some larger chunks.
Add the thinly sliced preserved lemon rind, and a good grind of fresh pepper.
Add the parsley and mix the whole thing until combined.
When the bread is toasted (or not), spread a thin layer of harissa on it, then pile on a mound of preserved lemon and tuna salad, and take a large and satisfying bite. Repeat as necessary.
Make it pioneer: swap the harissa paste for mayo.
Make it Jersey: swap the harissa paste for pesto. See top right.
Make it rock & roll: add some diced olives along with the parsley.