Tunisian Sandwich (Bonito, Cured Lemon & Harissa Mayo Sandwich)

By • September 9, 2013 • 3 Comments

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Author Notes: This sandwich is guaranteed to wake up your mouth and pop your eyes wide open. When my daughter came back from a year of study in Israel, she introduced me to this colorful layered sandwich, commonly served in cafes there. I loved the spicy flavor, and added the harissa mayo (normally harissa alone is used), arugula, tomato and rubbed garlic on the face and crusts of the toasted bread--a technique learned from my mother. The spices and technique for the harissa is adapted from Tastefood's recipe; I added sun-dried tomatoes based on a favorite jarred harissa, Shiloh's, that we often lug back from Los Angeles. You could use jarred harissa, but homemade just so good.creamtea

Makes 1 sandwich plus lots of extra harissa

  • 2 ounces dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon each whole coriander and cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 long narrow hot red fresh peppers, seeded, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • about 8 Fresno peppers, seeded, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 fat fresh garlic cloves, coarsely chopped plus one garlic clove, unpeeled, cut in half diagonally
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper
  • 2 thick slices of crusty sourdough or country bread, preferably hand-sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 squirt lemon juice
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced lengthwise in an egg slicer
  • 1/2 can (~2 oz. total) good-quality light tuna in olive oil such as Bonito del Norte
  • 1/4 cured Moroccan-style lemon, rinsed and diced
  • 1 handful washed baby arugula as garnish
  • sliced very ripe tomato
  • 3 thin slices ripe avocado
  • 2-3 pitted marinated black or red-black olives (optional) such as kalamata
  1. To make the harissa:
  2. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Cool slightly. In a heat-proof bowl, pour boiling water over sun-dried tomatoes to reconstitute. Let sit 10 minutes while you continue with recipe.
  3. Toast spices lightly in a heavy skillet until fragrant; empty into bowl of mini-processor. Cover, start motor and grind them coarsely.
  4. Add chopped peppers and garlic to spice grinder. Drain tomatoes, reserving soaking water for another use, and pat dry with paper towels,. Add tomatoes to puree; cover and whiz until pureed. Add olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time, whizzing until blended. Add a pinch or two of salt and Aleppo pepper and blend. Scrape into a container. Makes extra harissa.
  5. To assemble sandwich:
  6. Toast bread lightly
  7. Take each half of the cut clove of garlic and rub crusts and inner face of each slice of toasted bread.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon harissa and a squirt of lemon juice.
  9. Spread harissa mayonnaise generously on each slice. Layer bottom half with tomato, 3-4 slices of egg, a few spoonfuls of tuna (drained and flaked), finely chopped cured lemon, optional chopped olives, and arugula. Top with remaining slice of bread. Press together slightly, cut in halves on the diagonal, secure each half with a decorative toothpick if desired, and serve.
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about 1 year ago creamtea

oops, I mean butter lettuce as garnish, not butter (ingredient list).

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4 months ago Silly Apron

This looks yummy! Is this made by Tunisians in Israel?

Dsc00859_2

2 months ago creamtea

I'm not sure, although that's likely the derivation... my daughter says it's typically on cafe menus in Jerusalem, which has a very eclectic cuisine due to waves of immigration.