Grilled Romaine with Merguez, Olives and Capers

The wife was out of town, so I decided to experiment. This is basically the Grilled Romaine Hearts with Fried Capers & Lemon Cream recipe but without the parmesan, using Greek Yogurt instead of the Crème Fraîche, adding Green Olives and topping it with a link of Merguez.

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I went with a bottle of Bu Rice – a golden wild ale aged for approximately a year in Gin, Dry Vermouth and neutral oak barrels – from De Garde.

Merguez Sausage with Black Olive Mayo, Harrisa Carrot Slaw and Feta, Grilled Artichokes

This is something I’ve been meaning to try for a while. It’s basically a recreation of the Scott Snyder‘s “Chefwich” sandwich that was available all too briefly at Lardo. The original version had a ‘Moroccan lamb meatball’ – which I substituted with merguez sausage and topped with black olive mayoharrisa carrot slaw and feta.

I was trying to come up with what to serve with this, and then I remembered the cover of this month’s Saveur: Grilled Artichokes with Piment d’Espelette Aioli from Ox. I subbed out the Espelette with Aleppo pepper mainly because I have a lot of it.

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Instead of garnishing the artichokes with edible flowers, I decided to pair it with a beer made with flowers. I went with last year’s bottling of the Flora Rustica – a farmhouse ale brewed with calendula flowers and spring yarrow – from Upright.

Grilled Baby Romaine with Lamb Bacon, Runny Cheese, Fried Capers and Black Olive Cibatta

My wife was out of town – and had taken the car with her. So, I decided to make a challenge for myself: Ride my bike to the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, pick out all the ingredients needed to create a meal, then ride home and cook it. But there was way too much good stuff at the market – so I made two meals. Here is the first one…

This is basically the Grilled Romaine Salad that I made a while back. The lamb bacon – which I got from SuDan Farm – was a whim. I couldn’t find any crème fraîche or yogurt, so I picked up a runny stinky cheese called Pearl from Ancient Heritage Dairy. The Black Olive Cibatta – which I buttered and toasted on the grill – was from Pearl Bakery

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To drink… The day before, I had ridden my bike to Growlers Hawthorne to fill my growler with Fort George‘s Spruce Budd Ale – yet another beer to use spruce tips in place of hops.

Artichoke and Potato Hash with Merguez Sausage and Harrisa Cream Sauce

This was my attempt to copy a dish I had eaten at Tasty & Sons. I ordered the Moroccan Chicken Hash, but then added a side of Merguez Sausage. I based the recipe on this one that I had seen in Saveur a few years back and then add Merguez Sausage and Harrisa Cream Sauce. I also decided to add some Red Bell Peppers that I grilled with the sausage.

1 lb. small new potatoes, cut in half
1 lb. baby artichokes (about 7 ~ 8)
1 lemon, cut in half
3 tbsp. butter
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. capers
½ cup green olives, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Transfer potatoes to boiling water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool.

Trim away tough outer leaves of artichokes to expose their tender, pale green interior. (For illustrated, step-by-step instructions, see Trimming Baby Artichokes.) Slice artichokes lengthwise into ¼”-thick wedges. Rub artichokes with the cut sides of the halved lemon.

Heat 3 tbsp. in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and cook, flipping occasionally with a spatula, until they are light brown, about 10 minutes. Add artichokes and cook, flipping occasionally, until artichokes and potatoes are golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley, capers, olives and garlic. Stir to combine.

Plate the hash, place the grilled Merguez Sausage on top, and coat with the Harrissa Cream Sauce.

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Since it was just a few days after Beltane, I decided to go with a bottle of last year’s Beltane from Propolis Brewing.

Merguez Sausage with Harissa Sauce and Romanesco with Green Olives and Capers

When I was at Pastaworks, they had some merguez sausage that looked pretty tasty. I decided grill them with the harrisa sauce I had cooked previously and pair that with a romanesco recipe that I had been wanting to try (which you can find here).

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As to what to drink, I decided to go with a bottle of the Sahati – a beer that uses Spruce branches in the brewing process – from The Ale Apothecary.

Merguez Sausage with Harissa Sauce and Swiss Chard with Olives & Capers

Generally, when I think of lamb – I cringe. Growing up, my only experience was when I would go to my grandparents’ house. My grandmother would broil the Hell out of it, then slathered mint jelly on top. It was disgusting.

But that changed, when I tasted the Scott Snyder‘s “Chefwich Series” sandwich at Lardo. The sandwich was Moroccan lamb meatball (basically, merguez sausage without the casing) with black olive mayo, harrisa carrot slaw and feta served on a baguette – sort of a Middle Eastern bánh mì. It was amazing.

I had been wanting to experiment with merguez, when I stumbled upon a yogurt harrissa sauce that sounded like it would be a good match. Also, any excuse to go to CHOP – who produce the best charcuterie in town.

For a side dish, I went for the Lemony Swiss Chard with Fried Olives, Capers and Garlic – as well as some Garlic Flatbread.

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And to drink: the Spruce by Propolis Brewing – a beer brewed with Spruce Tips.