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Tunisian Market Sandwiches

From: Nancy Harmon Jenkins, author, The Essential Mediterranean

Yield: 4 sandwiches

Tunisian Carrot Salad
5-6 carrots, medium, peeled
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. caraway seed, ground
to taste, sea salt
1 Tbsp. harissa
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
¼ extra virgin olive oil

6 dried guajillo chiles
1 garlic clove, crushed with ¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground coriander seed
½ tsp. ground caraway seed
as needed, olive oil

3-4 red and green bell peppers
3-4 green chile peppers
3 tomatoes, medium
2 onions, small to medium
½ c. flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
to taste, sea salt
to taste, black pepper
1 Tbsp. cilantro, fresh, minced

4 crusty bread rounds
2 potatoes, yellow-fleshed, medium, boiled, peeled, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. salted capers, rinsed
2 eggs, hard-boiled, coarsely chopped
1.75 oz tuna, oil-packed
1 preserved lemon peel, chopped
½ cup pitted black and green olives, coarsely chopped

For Carrot Salad: Using the large holes of a grater, grate carrots into a bowl. In a mortar, pound garlic to a paste with the caraway and salt. Stir in the lemon juice and harissa, mixing well, then the olive oil. Beat with a fork or a small wire whisk to amalgamate and immediately pour over the grated carrots. Set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes to develop flavors.

For Harissa: Stem, seed and break up the chiles. Toast in a dry sauté pan. Soak in hot water until tender. Drain well, wrap in cheesecloth and press out excess moisture. Grind the chiles in a food processor with the garlic and spices. Add enough olive oil to make a thin layer. Cover tightly and keep refrigerated.

For Mechouia: Roast the sweet and hot peppers, using a charcoal grill if available. When the peppers are roasted and peeled, slice them lengthwise (the sweet ones into ¼-in. strips, the chiles into slivers). Transfer to a bowl with their juices. Roast the whole tomatoes on the grill until blackened on the outside but still quite firm within. Halve the tomatoes, pull away the skins and squeeze gently to extract the seeds. Cut into strips and add to peppers. Roast the unpeeled onions until skins are thoroughly blackened. Strip away the outside skins and slice the onions into strips. Add to the peppers. (If you don’t have the option of roasting the tomatoes and onions on a charcoal grill, turn on the oven broiler. Arrange the tomatoes and onions on a roasting sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Roast under the broiler, turning several times, keeping an eye on the vegetables and removing them as skins blister and blacken. When done, prepare the tomatoes and onions as described above.) Add the parsley to the vegetables in the bowl and toss to mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste. Beat with a fork, then pour over the vegetables while they’re still warm. Toss gently, then taste and adjust seasoning.

To assemble: Cut a slice off one edge of a bread round (about a third of the whole bread round) and reach into the large portion to pull out some of the crumb and make room for the other ingredients. Dip the edge you pulled out in a little of the carrot salad to moisten it; set it aside. Slather harissa all over the inside of the bread. Stuff in the potatoes, mechouia, lemon, olives, capers and tuna a little at a time, ending with the tuna. Sprinkle on enough olive oil to drizzle down inside, then cap the sandwich with the edge piece that was dipped in carrot salad to hold everything else in place. Serve immediately.


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