Article about Mustaphas Products | Harissa

Article about Mustaphas Products | Harissa

Extending an olive branch:

Importer hopes food will nurture appreciation of his native Morocco

By: Providence Cicero

Located just across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain, Morocco is a mountainous African country with rich coastal plains that is probably best known to Americans as the place where Bogie ditched Bergman on a foggy Casablanca airstrip.

But Tangier-born Haddouch intends to change that. By bringing gourmet Moroccan food to mainstream America, he hopes to raise awareness of and appreciation for the cuisine and culture of his native country.

In the beginning, when he was selling a bottle here, a gallon there, he thought he’d never make a go of his idea. In 1998, after years of false starts and setbacks, he finally got the company off the ground.

Now a local distributor takes away a pallet a week just for stores in the Seattle area, and Haddouch products are sold nationally through outlets such as Williams-Sonoma and online at

When Haddouch started dabbling in olive oil in the early ’90s, he was studying art history at the University of Washington in the mornings, working at the Henry Art Gallery in the afternoon and waiting tables in the evenings at Rover’s in Madison Valley.

”I set out to make a Moroccan olive oil that would compete with the great olive oils of Europe,” he says.

The project was not without its setbacks.

The first ton of oil he and his father pressed never even made it out of Morocco because of a change in export laws. A car accident in Morocco seriously injured Haddouch and killed his brother and business partner, Karim.

By the time Haddouch did get a shipment on the water, he had long since shifted his major to business and eventually quit both jobs to concentrate on importing.


 Grilled Harissa Turkey Cuban Sandwich


1 tbsp Mustaphas Harissa

1 cup Mayonnaise ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint

2 tbsp minced shallots 1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 lb loaf ciabatta bread, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 6 pieces (each about 5×3 inches), each halved horizontally.

12 slices Swiss cheese

1 lb Black Forrest Ham thinly sliced

6 ¼ inch slices of cooked turkey breast

Peel of 1 or 2 preserved lemons, rinsed and cut in quarters

1. Mix ½ cup mayonnaise and Harissa in small bowl

2. Mix ½ cup mayonnaise, mint, lime juice, minced shallot, sugar and ground cumin in another small bowl.

3. Spread the Harissa mayonnaise over cut sides of bread. Top each bottom half of bread with 1 cheese slice, ham slices and 1 turkey slice.

4. Sprinkle turkey with salt and pepper, and spoon mint mayonnaise over turkey. Top with remaining cheese and top halves of bread.

5. Working in batches, melt 2 tablespoons butter in large griddle over medium heat. Add 3 sandwiches, top with piece of foil. Place a heavy pan over the sandwiches to weigh them and cook until lightly brown. Then transfer sandwiches to work surface.

6. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in griddle. Turn sandwiches over onto griddle. Weigh down and cook the other side. Keep cooking until cheese melts and sandwiches are golden brown. It should take about four minutes.

7. Cut in half and serve. Bon Appetit !




Date: Jan. 9, 2002

Category: FOOD ‘DINING

Newspaper: Seattle Times

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