Author Caroline Wright developed this burger with a difference, inspired by the flavors of Morocco. Merguez is a spicy North African sausage, usually made with lamb. She first tasted it while she studied cooking in France. From "Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals" by Caroline Wright (Workman, 208 pages, $12.95)
For the burgers:
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pound ground lamb
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon harissa paste (or 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon paprika)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
For the cucumber dressing:
3 sliced Kirby or pickling cucumbers
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat or a grill pan over medium-high heat.
Place the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a mortar and crush with a pestle.
In a medium bowl, combine the spices with the ground lamb, garlic cloves, harissa paste, kosher salt and cayenne pepper.
Oil the grill grate or pan. Form the spiced meat into four 1 1/2-inch thick patties and grill, turning once, until charred and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium doneness.
While the burgers are cooking, combine the cucumbers, yogurt and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the burgers on rolls topped with the cucumber dressing.
Optional topping: tahini mixed with lemon juice, roasted red peppers and mint.