Thursday, May 8, 2014

Saluting the Sausage - Part 2: Merguez

Bonjour et as-salamu alaykum!

For our next look at the wide world of the sausage, we go from the bayou to the Maghreb.

Merguez is a lamb sausage originating from Northern Africa (Tunisia/Algeria area) that is usually fairly spicy without being overbearingly so, although I've had some that was a bit hard to take. But even when it's blisteringly hot, it's delicious. I've never tasted Merguez where the "lambiness" came through in a gamey, woolen-flavoured mess the way many lamb dishes can, which is usually why people avoid lamb (even though it's freakin' delicious).

Luckily, the nice folks at Sasloves make a really good version of it; with good heat and immensly flavourful and it makes for a great example of Merguez-dom...?

Happiness in a pan

Now, there are a million ways to eat a good piece of sausage, but you'd probably think a salad is the last place to showcase this amazing ingredient! But, Kari and I have been trying to eat more veggies and salads and whatnot, so it just came together in our minds, after buying the sausage, to put together flavours with a Middle Eastern/North African vibe and top it with the Merguez.

Tunisian Sunshine Salad

- 1/2 English Cucumber, thickly diced
- 1 cup Grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 orange pepper, diced or julienned
- 1-2 carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 cup Green beans, trimmed
- 1 tsp fennel seed, toasted
- 3-4 Merguez sausages, cut into 1 inch pieces

Ready to come together


- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp paprika
- pinch chili flakes
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, roughly ground
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup Red wine
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste

- Whisk all ingredients together.
- Toss salad with dressing.

Bowl full o' brightness!

So, once we put it all together and gave it a taste, I asked Kari what we should call it and she responded "sunshine salad!" So, adding in its North African origins, I came up with the name Tunisian Sunshine Salad.

How did it taste? Freakin' amazing! The name fit, it was full of bright citrus and subtle bitter notes from the lemon, yogurt, vinegar and sumac, crunch from the veggies and lots of spicy flavour from the sausage. It's also just a whole lot of nutrition; I could feel my blood and bones re-knitting after this excellent meal. I imagine there will be a lot of repeat performances from this bonanza of veggies (not to mention the tasty tasty sausage)!

That's all for today! Cheers!