Roasted harissa potatoes with preserved lemon gremolata deliver a powerful combination of flavors. The harissa is spicy, smoky and earthy and the preserved lemon gremolata is herby, bright and fresh. Serve as a side dish with a Mediterranean themed meal or surprise your brunch guests with a side of these potatoes topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
This post is sponsored by the Idaho® Potato Commission. All opinions are my own.
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Why you’ll love this recipe
Gremolata is actually an Italian herb, garlic and lemon zest topping for Osso Bucco. For this recipe, I borrowed the technique to create this preserved lemon-based version.
Preparing these roasted harissa potatoes is simple but the result will excite your taste buds and elevate even a simple weeknight meal to something special. While the potatoes are roasting with the spice blend, you prepare the fresh gremolata. Simply combine the two when you’re ready to serve.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Except for the preserved lemons, this dish uses simple ingredients that most of us have in the house. Preserved lemons are easy to make but take some time to “preserve”. Or they can be found in jars in your local specialty market or ordered online.
- Yukon Gold Idaho® Potatoes: I love the texture and flavor of Yukon Golds but you can definitely use Russets. I did not peel the potatoes but you can if you’d like, especially if you use Russets instead.
- Ground cumin: A common ingredient in so many cuisines, this adds an earthy punch of flavor. If you have whole cumin seeds, toast them in a dry skillet and then use a mortar and pestle to smash into a powder.
- Smoked paprika: This will infuse the spice blend with the hallmark smokiness you expect in harissa. Only have regular paprika? Use it. Your blend will still be delicious.
- Ground coriander: Sometimes described as the savory version of cardamon, this is ground from the seeds of the cilantro plant. It’s at once floral, savory, and herbal.
- Cayenne pepper: Based on the heat of your cayenne and your affinity for spicy flavors, you can adjust the amount of cayenne up or down to suit your tastes.
- Preserved lemons: If you don’t always have a jar of preserved lemons in your refrigerator, it’s a good time to start one. There is no real substitute for their unique lemony flavor, especially because you use the peel. See the FAQ below for some ideas for substitutions in a pinch.
- Roasted garlic: Gremolata traditionally includes raw garlic, which will work in this recipe. I love the less intense but still present flavor of roasted garlic.
- Fresh herbs: I tested the recipe with fresh dill and parsley. But feel free to change up the herb combination based on what you have on hand and what you’re serving with this. You can use just one kind of herb instead of a combination.
How to make this recipe
Roast the potatoes, make the gremolata, put the two together! It’s that simple. Once the potatoes are done, you can serve the harissa roasted potatoes immediately by mixing with the gremolata or spoon dollops on to individual portions. Or set aside the potatoes and preserved lemon mixture for later use. Potatoes are also good at room temp or reheated.
Prep your potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the harissa spices together.
Add the olive oil to make a paste.
Pour the spice mixture on the potatoes and mix well.
Spread the potatoes on two parchment-lined baking sheets.
Roast at 425°F for 20 to 25 minutes until fork tender.
While the potatoes are roasting, prep the gremolata. Chop the roasted garlic, preserved lemon and herbs. Place in a small mixing bowl with the olive oil and juice and combine. Remember preserved lemons are naturally salty so no added salt is needed.
When the potatoes are done, you can serve immediately with the gremolata – either mixing together or creating individual portions with a dollop of gremolata on top.
Expert Tips and FAQ
- If you use roasted garlic, roast extra cloves to have on hand to use for other dishes. To roast, just pop some cloves in some foil, pour a teaspoon of olive on them, close the foil and pop in the toaster oven or regular oven at 375°F for about 15 or 20 minutes. You can smell when they are ready. Store the unused cloves in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Be creative with the herbs you use to either match the flavors of the main course or to use up what you have on hand.
- You can easily half this recipe or double it.
- Feel free to peel the potatoes if you prefer. You can also make larger pieces or even try smashed potatoes with a dollop of gremolata on top for a fun presentation. If you use bigger cubes, be sure to adjust your roasting time to be sure they are fork tender.
You can definitely prepare the potatoes and gremolata ahead. Reheat the potatoes right before serving and then combine with the gremolata.
Gremolata is traditionally made with raw garlic so absolutely. Depending on your love of raw garlic, you can use the same number of cloves or reduce to 2 or 3 cloves instead of 4.
1. zest a whole lemon and use some kosher or flake salt. You will have less volume in the gremolata without the lemon peel so increase the herbs.
2. make a quick pickled lemon rind by finely chopping the rind of two unwaxed lemons and mixing with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and let it sit for a few hours before using in the gremolata.
3. Roast a whole lemon while you are roasting the potatoes, let it cool, and try using the rind of the roasted lemon and some kosher or flake salt
Absolutely make use of a dry pre-mixed harissa spice blend or a jar of harissa. Taste each for spiciness and adjust to your liking. You may be able to use the same amount of the dry blend as the total amount of the dry spices in this recipe. If using the paste, depending on how spicy it is, start with a tablespoon or two mixed with the olive oil.
More preserved lemon recipes
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Roasted Harissa Potatoes with Preserved Lemon Gremolata
For the potatoes:
- 2 pounds Idaho® Yukon Gold potatoes diced (1/2 inch)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
For the gremolata:
- 1 1/2 preserved lemons deseeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves roasted garlic finely chopped*
- 1/3 cup fresh herbs finely chopped**
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Roast your garlic cloves by placing them in a small piece of foil with a teaspoon of olive oil, close up the foil and bake in a toaster oven or regular oven for about 20 minutes at 350°F.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix well. In a large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes and the spice blend and mix well so all the potatoes are coated. Place the spice-covered Idaho® potatoes on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and roast for 20 – 25 minutes until tender and starting to crisp, switching shelves half way through cooking.
- While the potatoes are cooking, make the gremolata. In a medium bowl, combine the preserved lemon, garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon juice and mix well.
- When the potatoes are done, transfer them to your serving dish or a mixing bowl and blend with the gremolata. To preserve the crispness of the potatoes, you can also serve the gremolata on the side or create individual servings topped with a dollop of gremolata.