From the menu… The National, 232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens. 706-549-3450. thenationalrestaurant.com
A friend and I made the trip from Atlanta to Athens to shop at Plantapalooza at the Trial Gardens at the University of Georgia and to have lunch at The National. The “Power Lunch” was delicious. Is it possible they’ll share the recipe for the sweet potato and chickpea salad included on the plate? We loved the harissa in the dressing. — Betsy Shear, Tucker
Peter Dale, The National’s executive chef and owner, was glad to share this recipe. He wrote, “We have been serving harissa at The National since day one. Back then we had to answer a lot of questions about this North African spicy and earthy chili sauce. Today harissa is becoming well known and it’s possible to buy prepared harissa in gourmet and international markets. If you are intrepid, making your own harissa isn’t difficult, but a bit time consuming. It won’t be hard to find recipes online by the great food writer Paula Wolfert. In addition to spicing up your veggies, use harissa as a marinade for chicken, fish and lamb, or stir a dollop into hummus, yogurt, or mayo. You’ll have a new favorite condiment that will give Sriracha a run for its money. We serve sweet potatoes and chickpeas on our power lunch as a nutritional and flavor powerhouse. Add a soft-boiled egg on top for a filling lunch.”
Harissa is so popular it’s now available at mainstream grocery stores. You can buy Mina brand harissa at Kroger, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and Target.