Tag Archives: Tunisian

Scarlet Turnips and Watermelon Radishes: The Harissa Treatment

21 Feb

My friend Maya’s family is of Tunisian origin, and dinners at their house include a glorious parade of vegetables slathered in harissa and served with couscous.  She recommended I try the harissa treatment on my scarlet turnips and watermelon radishes this week, and the result was freaking delicious.

First I had to find harissa, which is a chili-tomato paste that comes in tiny, adorable cans.  I posted a question to Chowhound about where to find this stuff around these parts, and the Chowhounders located every harissa retailer in New England.  Amazing.

That radish has Whiskers of Doom

That radish has Whiskers of Doom. But look how tiny the can of harissa is! Kawaiiii!

The plan was to cut up raw turnips and radishes, slather with harissa, lemon, and olive oil, and eat it with couscous.  I doctored the couscous by cooking it in my Proprietary CSA Veg Scraps Stock and adding a little minced red onion, and some marinated olives on the side.

Watermelon radish and scarlet turnip - EXPOSED!!

Watermelon radish and scarlet turnip - EXPOSED!!

So here’s what they look like inside.  Pretty!!  The watermelon radish has pale green skin and a ring of fuchsia on the inside.  It has that pleasant sinus-clearing effect, but is pretty mild as far as radishes go.

The turnip is purple on the outside and white with purple flecks on the inside.  I was surprised by how sweet it tasted. Nobody told me turnips were kinda sweet!

Oh and I put those whiskery roots in my Future Proprietary CSA Veg Scraps Stock container in the freezer.

Turnip chunks

Turnip chunks

I used just one large turnip, and cut it into approx inch-long chunks.  The watermelon radishes were too pretty to cut into chunks, so I sliced them instead.  Then I combined them, which was maybe not the best aesthetic choice.

Looks like a psychedelic kiwi, tastes like a radish.

Looks like a psychedelic kiwi, tastes like a radish.

After the slicing, chunking, and couscous cooking, I tossed the radishes and turnips with about 2 tablespoons of harissa, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a table spoon of olive oil. You can dial up or down the harissa according to your spiciness preferences.

Radishes, turnips, harissa, couscous

Finished product. Could have been prettier, but not tastier.

Ta-da! Here, you’re looking at couscous, radishes & turnips in harissa with lemon, some olives, and some leftover roasted chicken.  Dinner was rad.  Can’t wait to make the radishes and turnips again, but next time I’ll make them separately.