Spice Up Breakfast By Frying Eggs In Harissa Paste

Whether you like them scrambled, jammy, poached, or fried, eggs are a versatile and nutritious breakfast staple worldwide. They cook in minutes, offering a myriad of different textures and a rich, comforting flavor that needs little more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That said, there are endless ways to upgrade eggs, from cheesy, meaty omelets to vegetable frittatas. Another great way to add spice and complexity to your breakfast eggs? By frying them in harissa paste.

Originating in Tunisia, harissa paste is a spicy, smokey, and earthy condiment made with dried chilies, roasted red bell peppers, garlic, cumin, coriander, and, caraway. Today, harissa is a UNESCO-recognized part of Tunisia's cultural heritage, but its use as a condiment is equally as prevalent in cuisines around the Middle East and Mediterranean. Its bright red hue and texture are reminiscent of tomato paste, but it packs a powerful flavor punch that enriches a wide range of dishes, from stews and tagines to meat and fish rubs.

Eggs are the perfect culinary canvas for harissa paste. In fact, Tunisians have long used harissa in Shakshouka along with tomatoes and olive oil. It's an all-purpose, all-encompassing flavor agent that'll save you the time of chopping aromatics and sorting through the spice cabinet. Plus, after adding it to fried eggs in the morning, you can add it to your lunchtime sandwiches and dinnertime stew.

Harissa paste tips

Harissa comes as a dry spice mix and a paste, and there are numerous recipe variations; some contain tomato paste, lemon juice, or fermented onions. The pastes come in jars and tubes, and you can find the spice mixes in the spice aisle. It only takes a small spoonful of harissa to flavor an entire dish, so one tube will last for numerous applications. You can also make your own harissa, using the chilies of your choice to achieve a desirable heat level.

The paste is preferable to the dry spice mix for fried eggs, adding a velvety, thick texture to stir into hot olive oil before you crack eggs over it. Harissa is certainly a stand-alone condiment for a simple fried egg dish that won't add any extra steps to a fast morning routine. But it would also work well in more elaborate breakfast and brunch dishes.

You could also stir the paste into an egg scramble with spinach, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes, and it would also make a great condiment to mix with sour yogurt for a tasty fried or jammy egg sandwich. In Israel, harissa is a popular condiment for sabich, a hearty breakfast sandwich featuring eggs, eggplant, and Israeli salad.

Another tasty idea would be to put a Mediterranean spin on eggs Benedict by adding a squeeze of harissa paste to hollandaise sauce. You could swap an English muffin for pita bread and Canadian bacon for fried eggplant or smoked salmon.