Spicy Merguez Scramble with Lemon-Harissa Yogurt and Moroccan M'smen

Crisped up in a pan with a little (more) butter or oil, my most recent M’smen revelation is for breakfast, served with harissa-spiced yogurt, merguez sausage, and eggs.

Spicy Merguez Scramble With Lemon Harissa Yogurt And Moroccan Msmen
Photo: Victor Protasio
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins

Ten years ago, my friend Jessamyn Rodriguez envisioned a nonprofit that would change the face of the culinary industry by training immigrant women for good jobs in food. She set up a wholesale bakery and teaching kitchen in East Harlem. She called it Hot Bread Kitchen. Three years in, she invited me to join the board of directors, and I’ve proudly been watching its ranks of bakers, cooks, and managers expand ever since.

As of today, Hot Bread Kitchen (or HBK) has helped hundreds of women and small food businesses get off the ground while significantly raising the bar on NYC’s carb game with its globally themed bread, from stollen, and babka to challah and parker house rolls — all inspired by the recipes of the women who train there. But it’s their M’smen — an intensely buttery Moroccan flatbread — that I love. I buy it online or at their bakery whenever I can. It’s a challenge not to rip it apart and eat it on the spot, but if I bring it home, M’smen becomes the basis for a slew of delicious meals. It’s the ideal vehicle for almost any dip and a gorgeous base on which to pile a salad or braised vegetables and meat. 

With every bite, I give a quiet nod of thanks to the fearless women of HBK who have taught me so much about reinvention, resilience, and the barrier-breaking power of well-baked bread. You can order the M’smen online at hotbreadkitchen.org.


Moroccan M’smen

  • 4 cups (about 17 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 cups water

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (about 4 ounces) plus 1/4 cup semolina flour, divided

  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided, plus more

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) salted butter, melted

Lemon-Harissa Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Pinch of black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced

Spicy Merguez Scramble

  • 8 large eggs

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • Pinch of black pepper

  • 1/2 pound merguez sausage, casings removed

  • 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1/2 medium-size yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon harissa

  • Chopped fresh mint


Make the M'smen

  1. Place all-purpose flour, water, salt, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons semolina flour, and 2 teaspoons oil in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment; mix on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium, and continue mixing until dough is smooth, shiny, and elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes.

  2. Generously coat a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Coat a large smooth work surface with oil. (A granite, stainless steel, or Formica countertop is ideal.) Transfer dough to oiled surface. Using oiled hands, divide dough into 12 (3-ounce) balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet, rolling in oil to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rest at room temperature at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 8 hours or overnight. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding.

  3. Meanwhile, stir together melted butter and remaining 6 tablespoons oil in a small bowl; set aside.

  4. Re-oil work surface. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, flatten dough with the palm of your hand. Continue to apply downward pressure with your palm to stretch dough into a 10-inch circle. (Dough round should be so thin that it is translucent.) Brush dough surface with 1 tablespoon butter-oil mixture; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon semolina flour. Fold the top, bottom, and 2 side edges of dough round in toward center so dough forms a 3-inch square and edges overlap in the middle. Return dough square, seam side down, to baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining dough balls, remaining butter-oil mixture, and remaining semolina flour. Let dough squares rest at room temperature 15 minutes.

  5. Proceeding in the same order in which you formed them, place each dough square on a lightly oiled parchment paper sheet. Stretch dough with the palm of your hand until it has slightly more than doubled in size (making about a 7-inch square). (If dough squares resist stretching, allow to rest a bit more before proceeding.) Cut parchment so that it extends just slightly beyond the square. (Do not stack dough squares as you stretch them — they will stick together.)

  6. Heat a large griddle over medium-high until very hot. (To test, flick a drop of water onto griddle. Griddle is hot enough when the drop of water sizzles away almost immediately.) Place 2 to 3 dough squares (depending on size of your griddle), parchment side up, on hot griddle. Peel off parchment as dough begins to firm on griddle. (Parchment should easily peel off.) Cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a wire rack. Repeat process with remaining dough squares.

Make the Lemon-Harissa Yogurt

  1. Stir together yogurt, lemon zest and juice, garlic, harissa, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Stir in mint.

Make the scramble

  1. Whisk together eggs, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl until frothy. Set aside.

  2. Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring to break up pieces, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve 2 teaspoons drippings in skillet.

  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add bell pepper and onion to skillet; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add harissa; stir to combine. Add eggs and cooked sausage; cook, stirring gently, until eggs are just set but still creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. To serve, place 1 warm m'smen on each of 4 plates. Spoon scrambled egg mixture evenly onto m’smen; top evenly with 1/2 cup of Lemon-Harissa Yogurt. Garnish with mint. Reserve the remaining m'smen and yogurt for another use.


M’smen are most delicious when eaten warm, but once cooled they can be stored up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They freeze well up to 3 months. Reheat m’smen in a hot, dry skillet 1 minute on each side before serving.

Lemon-Harissa Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days.

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