Chef Ari Rosen, of the restaurant Scopa in the California wine country, likes to prepare his own merguez (a spicy sausage popular in North African cuisine) to top this hearty flatbread. His recipe makes a fairly spicy sausage, but feel free to adjust the quantity of red pepper flakes up or down as you like. If you have a pizza oven, you can bake the flatbreads at around 600° to 700°F (315° to 370°C) for 3 to 5 minutes instead of cooking them as instructed below.
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) plain yogurt
- 1/4 sweet white onion, finely grated
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, shredded, and squeezed dry
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh dill or mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the merguez:
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground lamb
- 2 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp. finely ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground caraway
- 1 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
Rice flour, for dusting
- 1/2 batch Scopa's Flatbread
- 3/4 cup (3 oz./90 g) shredded mozzarella
- 12 fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced, soaked in water for 30 minutes and patted dry
- 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
To make the yogurt sauce, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, onion, cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and dill until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the merguez, put the lamb in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, cumin, black pepper, red pepper flakes, caraway, coriander, salt and sugar. Add the spice mixture to the lamb, sprinkling it evenly on top. Using your hands, mix the spices into the lamb, kneading and folding the mixture until the spices are evenly distributed and the mixture feels somewhat sticky, about 5 minutes.
In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté the merguez, stirring with a spatula to break up any clumps, until well browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the flatbreads.
Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C). Dust 3 baking sheets with rice flour.
On a floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll 1 of the dough balls into a circle about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. (You may need to finish shaping the dough by stretching it with your hands.) Transfer the dough round to 1 of the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the dough evenly with 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) of the mozzarella. Stud the flatbread evenly with one-third of the merguez. Repeat with the remaining 2 dough balls, mozzarella, and merguez.
Bake, in batches if necessary, until the cheese is lightly browned and the flatbreads are crunchy and golden, 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer the flatbreads to a cutting board and drizzle each with some of the yogurt sauce. Top each flatbread with an equal amount of the mint, onions and tomatoes. Cut each flatbread into 8 pieces and serve immediately. Makes three 12-inch (30-cm) flatbreads.
Ari Rosen, Co-Owner and Chef, Scopa, Healdsburg, CA.