I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. My grandmother, my Mémé, was born in Casablanca, making her a teenager around the time of Rick’s Café Americain (if only Humphrey Bogart ever really lived there). She came to France as a teenager, but she still cooks the most amazing Moroccan food, and I am besotted with it. Whenever I go home to Florida, I beg her for her specialties–things I can barely pronounce and definitely can’t spell. But there is one thing that’s as popular in France as it is in Morocco, and that’ Merguez: the spicy lamb sausage I grilled up for Bastille Day. It’s perfect for Working Girl cooking because it’s slightly exotic, which makes it exciting, but it’s also so flavorful on it’s own, stuffed with garlic, harissa, spices like cumin and coriander–so you really don’t have to do anything other than put it in the oven, where it releases the most gorgeous, fragrant juices.
I love this simple bake, inspired by Nigella Lawson, who does a similar dish with Halloumi: I put Merguez and roasted red peppers on a tray in the oven. Meanwhile, I fluff up a pile of couscous. The sausage is intensely smoky and spicy, and the peppers are sweet, and the couscous is mild and filling. An effortless trip on the Marrakech Express! I promise–anyone can make this in minutes. Plus, learning to make couscous is a Working Girl must because it cooks on counter in five minutes with just hot water, and can be paired with anything as a quick side instead of potatoes, or pasta, or rice. If you want to fancy it up, scatter some fresh cilantro leaves over the top of each plate.
- 1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ pound Merguez sausages
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
On a small rimmed baking pan, toss together the sausages and red peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping everything over once.
Meanwhile, combine the couscous with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Serve the peppers, merguez, and couscous together on the plate, and top with fresh cilantro for a fancy flourish!
If your supermarket doesn't sell Merguez, you can find it any any Middle Eastern or Kosher grocer--and sometimes gourmet shops. If all else fails, just use another exotic and spicy sausage, like chorizo or andouille.
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