Harissa paste, that Moroccan stalwart, is something I hoard jars of in my cupboards. Whether slicked over chicken thighs, marinated into steaks or used simply to add spice and zing to roast potatoes, it’s something I would now struggle to part with. It is delicious in this salad with the sweet potatoes and pungent goat’s cheese.
Sweet Potato and Harissa Salad
75g sunflower seeds
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
2 tbsp rose harissa paste
100g goat’s cheese
1 small red onion, finely sliced
small handful of mint, roughly chopped
4 radishes, finely sliced
1 small orange, peeled and segmented
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt flakes
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the sunflower seeds and toast, shaking the pan back and forth, for a minute or so until the seeds release their earthy aroma. Tip into a small bowl and set aside until needed.
Return the pan to a medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot and starts to shimmer, add the sweet potato pieces and fry, tossing occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender enough to eat, and is slightly charred. Add the harissa and toss through the potatoes, still on the heat, for a minute or so. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Tip the cooled pieces of harissa-slicked sweet potato into a large mixing bowl and crumble in the goat’s cheese. Add the onion, almost all the mint and the radishes, and toss together.
Season to taste.
Serve the salad with orange segments on top, a drizzling of extra virgin olive oil, and scatter with the remaining chopped mint.
Extracted from A Flash in the Pan by John Whaite (Kyle Books, approx €22). Photography by Nassima Rothacker.