Source: Cook. Nourish. Glow. By Amelia Freer
If you can’t stand the heat, then put down the harissa. Honestly, I’d never heard of it. But now I know the combination of peppers and spices otherwise known as Harissa paste that Tunisian people eat like Americans eat ketchup.
As Tunisia’s main condiment, its main ingredients are roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers, as well as spices and herbs like garlic paste, coriander seed, or caraway and vegetable or olive oil for preservation. It’s especially useful for adding fire to meat dishes. Consider it taste bud shock therapy, since the heat is less of a flavor and more of a sensation that has the power to wake you up, make you cry and help you live longer.
Spicy food often gets a bad rap for being bad for the digestive system. But the truth according to a story in Today Health & Wellness, it can help you lose weight because hot peppers are known to speed the metabolism and curb your appetite. Capsaicin, the ingredient found in peppers that produces the heat, also help release the body’s own opioids and help autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, cultures that eat more spicy food have fewer cases of that type of illness. Capsaicin also has antibacterial and possibly even antifungal effects, which explains why hot peppers are used as a food preservative.
So the next time someone talks negatively about spicy food, as if it’s an assault to the system, you can share your knowledge of the subject, and possibly even offer this recipe.
For the burgers:
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Coconut oil
- 1 gem lettuce, leaves separated
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into slices
- 2 vine tomatoes, slice
- Dijon mustard
Mix the ground turkey, shallots, garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and egg yolk together in a large bowl. Add the harissa paste, season well with salt and pepper and mix again.
Using your hands, divide the mixture into four and press into patties, roughly 1 inch thick. Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When you are ready, preheat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the burgers from the fridge and lightly grease a non-stick baking sheet with a touch of coconut oil. Arrange the burgers on the sheet and bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.
Serve the burgers on a bed of lettuce leaves with the sliced avocado and tomato on top of each one. Add a dollop of Dijon mustard.