Maybe chili-spiked lamb sausage—better known as Merguez, a north African specialty—isn't the most patriotic thing to grill on July 4th. Your neighbors will be out there with their all-beef patties and Oscar Meyer hot dogs, looking over the fence. But the way I see it, high levels of deliciousness trumps all—and this sandwich passes the test with gusto.
The key is using a good crusty baguette, which also gets charred on the grill, making it taste fresh out of oven all over again. A quick cucumber, onion, and tomato condiment salad adds crunch, and there are two sauces to choose from: harissa, which can be store bought or blended up easily, and cumin-spiked mayonnaise (but call it cumin aioli for more raised eyebrows). The harissa is for spicier palates, while the aioli is a bit milder but still very flavorful.
D'Artagnan makes an excellent merguez sausage which is quite mild; you might also find them at a local farmer's market.
- For the sandwich
- 1 baguette, cut into 4 lengths and sliced lengthwise
- 1 pound merguez sausages
- For the condiment salad
- 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
- 1 handful cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- For the harissa (optional)
- 5 dried red chilies, soaked in boiling water until soft
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (optional)
- For the cumin aioli (optional)
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- Cumin, to taste
Combine the cucumber, tomatoes, and onions in a bowl. Add olive oil to moisten and season with salt and pepper. Splash in red wine vinegar to taste.
Prepare the harissa by blending all the ingredients in a food processor; prepare the cumin aioli by whisking the cumin into the mayonnaise until it tastes right.
Construct sandwiches and serve.