Harissa-sweet pepper oil

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

This oil-as-sauce was first put together for the root vegetable and couscous pilaff. The pilaff is flavoured with the complex but low-key tastes of our chermoula so we came up with this oil to add a dramatic element to the mix. It’s a combination I love: sweet, rich and very hot. It’s hard to say how many this recipe serves, but it makes 600 mls. Depending on the chilli-heat level and your fondness for it, this could feed eight to fifteen people. I like it to be very hot in which case a little gives a big hit, but if you make it a bit milder it’s a pleasure to mop up loads of it. Up to you. The finished oil will keep very well for up to a week in a fridge.


  • 2 red peppers, roasted and peeled
  • 250 mls olive oil
  • 150 mls water
  • 5 tsps harissa paste


COARSELY CHOP THE PEPPERS and put them in a pan with the olive oil, water and harissa. Bring to the boil and keep at a rolling boil for two minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes only, then blend it using a hand blender or food processor - the hand blender works better. Most times you will get an emulsion that will last for ever, but occasionally the components gradually become separate again don’t worry, just give it a quick blend or whisk before serving. Leave the oil to cool before serving, though it tastes fine warm too.