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Harissa Steak Sandwich recipe from the finale of The Next Food Network Star

August 6, 2009

Harissa Steak Sandwich

1 10-12 oz. New York strip steak or steak of your choice
3 Tb Harissa (Can buy it in the tube at many grocery stores or on line at or )
Salt and pepper
1 Tb olive oil
1/2 C. mayo
1/4 C fresh chopped mint
1/4 C chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic chopped
Pinch of salt
Sandwich rolls or bread of your choice
1 yellow tomato or tomato of your choice
2 C arugula leaves (watercress is good as well, spinach if you want less spice)

Heat up your grill, grill pan or sauté pan to medium high.
Season the steak with salt and pepper. Rub 1 Tb of the harissa on each side of the steak.
Wipe down grill with a little oil. Place steak on grill and cook for about 3 minutes. Flip. Cook 3 more minutes (this will yield MR depending on the thickness of the steak. Adjust for your taste and for the size of the steak).
While the steak is cooking place the mayo in a medium size bowl.
In a small sauté pan over med heat add the olive oil. Once hot add the mint and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds just until you smell the perfume of the garlic and mint. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat off and stir. Stir mixture into the mayo. The warm mixture will immediately permeate the mayo with flavor and give it a beautiful color. Stir the remaining 1 Tb of Harissa into the mayo.

Grill the bread if you like. Spread mayo on both sides of the bread.
Slice the steak and lay across the bread.
Top with sliced tomato and arugula.

Makes 2-4 tasty sandwiches depending on how much meat you like!

Notes to insure tastiness!!

*New York, Rib eye or Filet mignon will be a treat and will be very tender. The thicker the steak the better because you can get a nice crust on the steak and still have a MR, juicy center. A thin steak will often over cook by the time you get a crust. You can use a less expensive cut that will also be flavorful but I would recommend cutting it thin before grilling so it is more tender. The key is to not overcook the meat or you will lose the juiciness and tenderness. Also, make sure to let the steak sit for ten minutes before slicing to allow the juices to re-absorb. They will then absorb into your bread instead of being left on the cutting board.

*Don’t let the mint and garlic turn brown unless you like the more toasted flavor. I like to preserve the delicate perfume of the mint and garlic which then permeates the mayo and creates a fresh, bright balance to the deep, spicy richness of the harissa.

*Make sure your grill, grill pan or sauté pan is hot and oiled before you place the meat down or the moisture of the harissa will make the steak stick.

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

48 Comments leave one →
  1. Margaret OBrien permalink
    August 6, 2009 10:46 am

    Thank you!

  2. emma permalink
    August 6, 2009 11:50 am

    I feel like a cooking infant (as opposed to heard earned toddler level) in sking you this but I HATE mayo because it’s too thick an emulsion. It gives me the shivers. Would it be all right to add the harissa to some aoli or am I better off just hitting the bread with a good olive oil and the paste?

    • Colleen permalink
      August 6, 2009 12:50 pm

      To: EMMA

      Thought AIOLI is a MAYONNAISE…with garlic (!!).
      + Could not understand all what you wrote (typing errors ?)

  3. August 6, 2009 12:35 pm

    I am SO glad you posted this recipe! I pretty much memorized it from the show, but glad to have the real thing in print, will be making tonight. We were rooting for you!

  4. August 6, 2009 7:59 pm

    Thank you SO much for sharing this!!! Seriously, my entire family thanks you, too!!! And I just checked a not-too-far-from-me international market and they have harissa!! Looks like I’ll pick some up this weekend!! Yay!!

    Mrs. U

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:08 am

      Excellent! Enjoy and thank you so much!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  5. Joanne permalink
    August 6, 2009 8:55 pm

    Thanks for posting this recipe. Our mouths were watering as we watched you prepare it, but we were so surprised when Melissa won that we couldn’t remember the ingredients! Your sister in RF is your biggest cheer leader! We have been watching since she showed up at a little league game in her Food Network t-shirt and promo cards for you. Looking forwad to you having your own show. Best wishes for continuing success.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:07 am

      Thank you Joanne! I really appreciate it. Enjoy the recipes and thanks for following!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  6. August 7, 2009 7:13 am

    Emma, I would try yogurt, I made it last night and it was fabulous enjoyed by all. I did say that next time if I have plain yogurt on hand I will sub that for the mayo just for calorie reduction and a little healthier spin, regardless though it was fantastic as is.

  7. Samuel permalink
    August 7, 2009 8:28 am

    Thanks for posting this you made it look delicious! Also thanks for continuing your blog after the Next Food Network Star has ended, I don’t always post comments, but I always eagerly read anything you write!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 7, 2009 9:01 am

      Thank you Samuel. I have no plans to stop! take care,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  8. Gina permalink
    August 7, 2009 12:03 pm

    I’m so glad I found this recipe. It looked so good, I wanted to make it as I was watching the show. Can’t wait to try it and Harissa for the 1st time.

    I just need to say that I think you definately should have won. There are so many shows out there already that will be similar to Melissa’s…too many. I would have LOVED to watch you cook with different ingredients from around the world for us to learn about and try on our own. It always excites me to try new things. I don’t think there is a show out there like the one you proposed. I’m sorry you didn’t win. I was looking forward to watching you every week.

  9. Dawn permalink
    August 7, 2009 3:20 pm

    This is AWESOME!!! My daughter and son-in-law are seasoning snobs and they couldn’t get enough of this sandwich.

    I KNOW you will be on some cooking show, and very soon!

    Your french toast is great too. FN doesn’t know what they passed up… I will be reading your blog more often than watching some of their shows.

    God bless you and your family… keep bringing the good stuff!!

  10. Rebecca permalink
    August 8, 2009 8:09 am

    I just have to say this was amazing! We made it last night for friends, one of which is kind of a picky eater, and there was nothing left even on his plate! Thank you so much for posting the recipe, I was really hoping i would be able to find it, and it definitely did not disappoint! Yum! I want to make it again for dinner tonight 🙂

  11. Erika permalink
    August 8, 2009 11:30 am

    Just an FYI about how many people you influenced with you Harissa recipe.
    On Harissa is currently rated #7 best selling on the gourmet foods section behind 1-6 which are all gummie bears and #1 under the mustards section. You should be proud of how many people you’ve influenced to try this product.


    • Erika permalink
      August 8, 2009 11:32 am

      Let me edit that statement, as of a minute ago it is now #1 and #8 respectively on the gourmet food list. Congrats!

  12. Jeane permalink
    August 8, 2009 6:27 pm

    Jeffrey-you remind me Bobby Flay in his approach and interest in cooking.
    I ordered harissa and a bunch of other spices after I watched your demo(I ordered them from via amazon).
    I could not believe all the spices they had available. When I got them all, it was like Christmas morning, as I opened the box.
    First we made your steak sandwich. We just loved it.
    I then went to the food network site and made Bobby’s Chicken and Chickpeas Tagine with Apricots and Harissa sauce ( I used 2 tbsp of the ras al hanout spice rather than 1 tbsp).

    Thank you Jeffrey for introducing us to ingredients we would not have tried, had we not watched your demo.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:17 pm

      thank you Jeane, I know that “chrismas morning” feeling when my spices arrive, awesome!! Thanks for trying it out, thanks for reading the blog and thanks for the support!! Sounds like you are a passionate cook!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  13. seaphile permalink
    August 8, 2009 7:23 pm

    After watching the NFNS finale I went immediately to Amazon and bought a tube of harissa. What a great concept for a show, and a great performance – you have a real lobby on the Food Network website, post-finale, among more adventurous viewer/cooks who would love to follow along with your ingredients approach. Hold out for your own show, whether it’s on Food Network or another channel, not just the odd cameo return on future Food Network competition shows.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:16 pm

      Thank you seaphile, well said!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  14. Karen permalink
    August 9, 2009 9:37 am


    Thank you for the recipe for the Harissa Steak Sandwich. I had found a recipe (on the FN blog) for Harissa so I was good to go when your recipe came in my e-mail. Susie’s final Vlog suggests that we might, indeed, see you in some capacity on FN. That would just be incredible!

    Thanks again!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:15 pm

      Thank you karen!! I am not stopping until it happens 🙂

  15. Jennifer permalink
    August 9, 2009 7:24 pm

    Jeffrey – we loved watching you on the show and were drooling after watching you make this sandwich. We were wandering through Chelsea Market yesterday, only to see a large sign advertising Harissa at the entrance to one of the shops. The sign noted that the number of people asking them about harissa since its appearance on your clip in the show had drastically increased, and as such they were advertising it up front and center in their store. Of course we were happy to see it and picked some up. I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night! Look forward to continuing to read your blog.

    • Jennifer permalink
      August 10, 2009 5:58 pm

      Follow up — just finished a DELICIOUS harissa-filled dinner. My mouth is slightly on fire (might have gone a little overboard on the harissa), but it was worth it! I can’t wait to have leftovers and to make this recipe again! Thanks Jeffrey.

      • Jeffrey Saad permalink
        August 10, 2009 10:03 pm

        Well done Jennifer! Thank you so much for trying it! Take care,

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:12 pm

      Thank you for making my week Jennifer!! How cool. I really appreciate it!!!
      jeffrey 🙂

  16. August 9, 2009 8:13 pm

    I am almost a strict vegetarian, with strict veggie teenage girls, and even I had to look for this recipe! The way he described the harissa sounds fabulous, I never would have tried it without seeing Jeffrey cook with it! I just watched the food network challenge again, and this recipe looks better each time! I hope they are smart enough to guest host Jeffrey on Melissa’s new show, or bring him back next year, he reminds me of an articulate Keanue Reeves, and I love his gentle easy approach on screen. I’ll just follow him on whatever website he posts his recipes on! Thanks!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:11 pm

      Thank you Lori. Harissa is great on veggies. Thanks for trying it and thanks for the awesome support!! I really appreciate it. Warmly, Jeffrey 🙂

  17. Monique permalink
    August 10, 2009 6:30 pm


    Thank you for the great Harissa Steak Sandwich recipe. I hope we see alot more of you on Food TV, you are truly one of the greats. Lots of success to you.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 10, 2009 10:03 pm

      thank you Monique, I am working on it! Take care! Jeffrey 🙂

  18. Vincent permalink
    August 11, 2009 6:25 pm

    Hey Jeffrey, I see you have a huge female following. 🙂 Just thought you might like to hear from the other side also. I’m a fan of your cooking and this great sandwich. Did you know that harrisa is now out of stock on some websites and that you are the talk of all of the blogs on FN.

    FN will realize that they need not only your cooking style, but someone like you who can demand a following like you have. You seem to be the “American Idol” of cooking. I believe you would have the lasting qualities of the best of them.

    Keep up the good work, your name is bound to be a household word before long.

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 12, 2009 11:35 pm

      Toof funny! Thank you Vincent! That is awesome to hear. I appreciate it. Keep in touch and thanks for following!
      Jeffrey 🙂

  19. August 12, 2009 7:17 pm


    Count me as another big fan of yours. Tonight we used your harissa mayo spread on pita as the base for falafel. Works much better than trying to drip the harissa on the top, like they do at the shops. And the infused mayo provides a nice depth and counterpoint to everything else.

    Really a versatile condiment. I’m looking forward to more from you.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 12, 2009 11:32 pm

      Thank you James! I am so happy. I will keep it coming. Thanks for reading.
      Jeffrey 🙂

  20. Jeane permalink
    August 13, 2009 9:29 am

    Yes, you are now the Adam Lambert of the foodworld!
    Recall he came in second, but has the largest fan base AI has ever had.
    So was the dinner itself interesting due to the food being served or was the conversation at the dinner interesting re a future show?
    Enquiring minds want to know!

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 15, 2009 9:23 am

      Hello Jeane,
      Still working on a show. We shall see… Check out the most recent blog today about the painful dinner we had. Thanks for reading, take care. Jeffrey 🙂

  21. CKGoldschmidt permalink
    August 15, 2009 12:05 pm


    I was very much looking forward to your show on the Food Network. I’m tired of “busy people” recipes. The experience of watching you and listening to you describe food gave me inspiration to try new things. I really was looking forward to the new adventures you offered through your cooking. You didn’t dwell on the point of cost, but you knew how to operate within a budget. I hope the Food Network reconsiders and offers you a show because I would be a loyal viewer.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 16, 2009 12:13 pm

      Thank you CK! I am not giving up! Jeffrey 🙂

  22. August 16, 2009 7:15 pm

    Hey Jeffrey. Great job on the show. Check out this food blog to see your recipe in action: And welcome to the blog world — pretty soon you’ll find yourself in the food photography business as well. If you get your pics up on foodgawker and tastespotting, you’ll develop an even wider audience.

    -Ninette at

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 17, 2009 10:00 pm

      Hello Ninette, Thank you for the heads up!!! I will check those out! Take care,
      Jeffrey 🙂

  23. Margaret O'Brien permalink
    August 17, 2009 9:22 pm

    Made the sandwich this weekend, pretty amazing. But what happened to the onions? I realized when I watched the video again on TNFNS that I’d left them off, but then I rechecked the recipe and found that YOU’D left them off. It was still awesome. I can’t wait to use that mayo for a potato salad (or chicken salad, or tuna salad). Really like The Spice Smuggler shorts, hope you/they continue them.

  24. Kelly permalink
    August 20, 2009 10:21 am

    I am dying to try this recipe, but was wondering about the spice level of the Harissa. I like things a touch spicy, but HOT I can’t do. Is it too much?

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 26, 2009 8:34 am

      Hello Kelly. It is not too spicy in my opinion but you can try a dab and adjust how much you use. If you use a dab across the steak it will not be too spicy. The Le Cabanon brand is spicer but I don’t like it as well because it does not have carraway in it which I think is the distinguishing characteristic of good harissa. The other brand you usually find is DEA which does have carraway and is not as spicy. Enjoy! Jeffrey 🙂

  25. Devlin permalink
    August 28, 2009 3:17 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Jeffrey,I too was hoping to see more imported ingredients and different ways of using them.Good luck to you!
    Really looking forward to trying this steak sammy but
    I have one question about this recipe,wasn’t there some sauteed onions on top of the steak?

    Thanks again , Devlin

    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      August 30, 2009 9:00 am

      Hello Devlin, yes the sandwhich had carmelized onions. Thanks much, I will keep it coming. Take care, Jeffrey

  26. Mark Anthony permalink
    September 3, 2009 12:24 pm

    Great sandwich Jeffrey.

    Put me down as another fan who thinks you should have won. Hope you get your own show eventually.


    • Jeffrey Saad permalink
      September 4, 2009 9:10 am

      Thank you Mark Anthony, the support means a lot! Jeffrey


  1. Harissa Steak Sandwich | Damn Well Fed.

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