North African ‘Brik’ With Tuna and Cilantro (Plus: Harissa)

North African Brik with Tuna and Cilantro (Plus: Harissa)

Two 5-ounce cans tuna in olive oil (preferably Cento brand, which is certified kosher)
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 small onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tablespoon pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 package brik leaves cut into 5-inch squares, or 5-inch wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying
Harissa or the hot sauce of your choice for dipping (I like the harissa from or see recipe below)

Put the tuna in a mixing bowl with a little of the oil, and break it up with a fork. Fold in the hard-boiled eggs, cilantro, onion, crème fraîche or sour cream, pine nuts, and salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Put a teaspoon of the filling near the bottom of a wrapper. Using your finger, brush the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg and fold over the sides to enclose the filling. Roll up the package like a jelly roll, sealing by pressing the edges together with extra egg wash if needed. Put all the turnovers on a baking sheet, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to fry.

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a wok or large sauté pan until the oil reaches about 375 degrees. Fry the brik in batches for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately, with a dab of harissa on top, or with a bowl of harissa alongside for dipping.

Yield: About 48 brik



2 ounces dried hot red chili peppers, such as tiny New Mexican or cayenne
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste

Cut the stems from the peppers, remove half the seeds, and soak the peppers in warm water until soft; drain, and squeeze out any excess water. Grind the peppers, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. The consistency should be that of a thick purée, and the color bright red. Put the harissa in a jar, pour the remaining olive oil over the top, then seal and refrigerate.

Let sit for a few days before using, until the harissa becomes less opaque and the flavors meld. Use sparingly—it is very hot!

Yield: About 1 cup

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