A few months ago I bought a jar of harissa on a whim. Having never had the stuff, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. But upon adding a dollop to a rice dish I was hooked: a little salty, a lot spicy, and with a hit of acid, the concentrated flavor perks up just about anything. While you can make it yourself at home, I'm the sort of person who likes to buy the jarred stuff, especially Mustapha's Moroccan Harissa, which incorporates preserved lemons. I stir it into everything: scrambled eggs, lentil soup, creme fraiche. At this rate, I'll soon be putting it on cereal.
Mustapha's Moroccan Harissa, $7.95 at gourmet stores and Mustaphas.com