If you're a spice lover, chances are you've jumped on the harissa train. The smoky North African chili paste has become a menu mainstay thanks to the simple fact that it makes pretty much any food better. From mom's meatloaf to mom's bloody Mary (mom doesn't mess around!), it's now a staple of markets nationwide.
A good harissa paste -- we recommend Entube and cHarissa -- has a depth and balance that makes it an extremely versatile condiment. The heat buildup should be gradual (it shouldn't immediately overwhelm you with heat like a hot sauce might), punctuated by the smoky flavor of the roasted peppers and spices like the typical cumin, paprika, and coriander.