We're forging ahead here, well into a second consecutive New Products Week.
Harissa is a Maghrebi hot chili pepper paste, the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, Baklouti pepper, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, saffron, rose or caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation. It is most closely associated with
Tunisia, Libya, Algeriaand Morocco.
So now you know, in case you didn't before (as I most assuredly did not).
I can't imagine what made Trader Joe's think that they had any right to mash-up Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines in such a barbaric, insensitive act of cultural appropriation--but I'm glad they did. I actually like it a lot, even though it's a couple of notches hotter than I would prefer, sitting just a little below the top of the thermometer graphic that TJ's puts on most of its salsa jars.
In fact, I liked it far more than the also-new Roasted Tomatillo & Mango Salsa, even though they are approximately the same level of excessive heat, and even though if you had shown me a list of the ingredients, I would have guessed that my preference would run the other way. Nina said that I like this one more because it's sweeter, and that may well be true.
Will I buy it again?
If they made a version of this at about 3/4 of the level of heat, it would instantly become one of my favorites. As is, I think it will be a rare purchase, allowing enough time between jars for my esophagus to heal.