Make Ahead

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

October  4, 2022
4 Ratings
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 sandwich plus lots of extra harissa
Author Notes

This sandwich is guaranteed to wake up your mouth. When my daughter came back from gap year in Israel, she introduced me to this colorful sandwich, commonly served at Aroma cafes which can be found throughout Israel. I once sampled it at Aroma in Jerusalem. Replicating it at home, I rubbed garlic on the face and crusts of the bread for extra flavor and added a sun-dried harissa mayo, arugula, and tomato. The spices and technique for the harissa is adapted from Tastefood's recipe. You could use jarred harissa or even sriracha, but homemade is just so good. —creamtea

What You'll Need
  • 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 (or any hot pepper you favor), 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 or other mildly spicy ground red pepper
  • 2 thick slices of crusty sourdough or country bread, preferably hand-sliced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mayonnaise
  • 1 squirt lemon juice
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, sliced lengthwise in an egg slicer
  • 1/2 can (~2 oz. total) best-quality tuna in olive oil such as Ortiz 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • meganvt01
  • boulangere
  • creamtea
  • Silly Apron
    Silly Apron

5 Reviews

meganvt01 January 29, 2021
Looks so lovely! Just wanted to make sure you saw the contest rules ( and include the restaurant and location in your headnote.
boulangere July 22, 2018
Now that's a sandwich.
creamtea September 11, 2013
oops, I mean butter lettuce as garnish, not butter (ingredient list).
Silly A. May 27, 2014
This looks yummy! Is this made by Tunisians in Israel?
creamtea July 10, 2014
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.