CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 14 Sci-Fi & Fantasy - Page 25

e huk If there is one thing that Leetal and Ron Arazi of NY Shuk know, it is harissa. The pair moved to New York from Israel, and they noticed that in this hub of Jewish culture Ashkenazi cuisine was well represented, but there was a disparity when it came to the availability of Sephardic ingredients—and an even big- ger disparity when it came to high-quality ingredients. Soon after, NY Shuk was born. Created to be a sort of pantry, Leetal and Ron started off with their Signature Harissa and have since progressed to include a whole range of both harissa paste and dry harissa spices, in gorgeous varieties like preserved lemon and rose. The pair also teach classes on everything from Middle Eastern street food to the art of couscous making at their Brooklyn kitchen. We were excited to have Leetal give us a les- son on harissa and its versatility. Thick, vibrantly red, and lusciously textured, the pi- quant chili paste has been at the center of Maghreb cuisine ever since New World explorers first intro- duced the Latin American pepper to Europe in the 16th century. (Scholars believe that chilies likely trav- eled to North Africa along with Spanish colonizers or roving spice traders.) With their beguiling flavor and easy adaptation to their new, sultry climate, Maghreb cooks quickly learned to love the chili pepper— par- ticularly when pounded into an oil and spice-enriched paste that delivered fiery complexity to their food. Today, harissa is a staple of Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian, and Moroccan cuisine. It is also revered in places like France and Israel, which are home to large populations of people from these countries. In the United States, harissa is quickly gaining pop- ularity as a flavorful alternative to condiments like ketchup, salsa, and sriracha, as well as a potent ingre- dient that amps the flavor of any dish it touches. Like Italians with tomato sauce, home cooks across North Africa and the Middle East are serious about © Hundred-to-One LLC 2017. All rights reserved.