I am often requested by Scotty D to use up the items in the fridge crisper and pantry before I consider shopping for new ingredients (which is always my go to). I like to take this request as a resourcefulness challenge and use it to come up with a new and unique recipe with only the ingredients in the house. So if we were sans milk, eggs, butter, flour etc I would just have to come up with as tasty a dish as possible without them.
The other night when deciding what to make for dinner and planning a list of new ingredients to buy from the shops, Scotty turned to me and issued a resourcefulness challenge by saying “but there is so much in the fridge”. Right… the challenge was on.
A quick search yielded the following ingredients: beef mince, herbs, a lemon, 2 eggs, ricotta, breadcrumbs, 3 shallots, 1/2 a red chili, harissa paste, couscous, heirloom tomatoes, olive oil, salt & pepper. I quickly realised that there actually was a lot in the fridge and there was no need to go shopping (let’s not spend time on the fact that Scotty was right).
I straight away started on a menu of beef harissa koftas with the perfect tomato salad and a lemon & herb couscous. Harissa is fast becoming my favourite flavour in the kitchen. Harissa Paste is used in middle-eastern and african recipes. You can make homemade Harissa Paste and freeze it until you need to use it, or you can buy it in tubes from gourmet food shops (if you want to make it, there is a great recipe for it here).
The first thing I needed to make was the tomato salad. There are three key elements to a great tomato salad and that is: 1. using juicy tomatoes; 2. adding a lot of salt; and 3. leaving the salad in the fridge for 30 minutes for the flavour to develop. I then prepared the koftas for cooking and while Scotty cooked them on the barbeque, I made the herbed lemon couscous. This meal was definitely a stand out and rather proud of myself, I was self-crowned winner of the evening’s resourcefulness challenge (this for a challenge that only had one contestant of course – the odds were in my favour).
PERFECT TOMATO SALAD
1 punnet Heirloom tomatoes, quartered
Sml handful basil leaves, roughly torn
Sea salt flakes, crushed
Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients except salt in a bowl. Then slowly start adding sea salt flakes till the flavour of the tomatoes is enhanced (you will notice that the flavour will change all of a sudden and become more intense). Then cover with glad wrap and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes for flavour to develop.
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup instant couscous
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the couscous, stir quickly, cover, and remove from the heat. Leave for 5 minutes then fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, and stir to combine.
BEEF HARISSA KOFTAS
500g good quality beef mince
3 shallots, finely sliced
1/2 red chili, finely chopped
3 tbsp harissa paste
Sml handful coriander, finely chopped
Zest 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup ricotta
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt & pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with hands ensuring that all ingredients are evenly dispersed throughout the mince. Once mixed take palm sized amounts of the mixture and form into log shapes inserting a stick into each at one end. Repeat with remaining mixture then transfer to a plate, cover and refrigerate until needed. To cook, place the koftas on a preheated oiled barbeque grill and grill until cooked. Serve immediately.
I've seen koftas being made on MKR several times now and it really makes me want to try them. your recipe looks and sounds pretty amazing. What a great effort 🙂
I think that's were I got the idea from – I had seen the Melbourne team try them on MKR. Infact, while I type this I have it on in the background and another team has made koftas!