Periodically this long time French exile starts to crave some very specific food that cannot be found locally. It would be more accurate to say that the food of a specific name that can be found locally does not generally taste like the food of same name in its origin country. But please note that this post is not to criticized the taste foreign foods have after they are adapted to the local population - I do understand the economics behind this necessity but I just wanted to show how one can solve this kind of problem for those foods that cannot be imported.
My all time favorite sandwich is called the "jambon-beurre" and is the simplest sandwich one can imagine: fresh bread, butter, sliced ham. This is one example of a sandwich that cannot be replicated here in California by simply buying the ingredients as the ham here has too much clove taste to it. For now this sandwich is out of my reach, but I managed after some work to make a perfect replica of my second favorite sandwich: The merguez sandwich.
harissa can be easily found, California has excellent vegetables, French bread can be made at home and as for French fries, nothing can beat the recipe from Cook's Illustrated. The main problem is with the merguez itself which, because it is a fresh sausage, cannot be imported. It is possible to buy something called merguez in California and I even keep a package of those in my freezer for when I want to explain to someone what a merguez does not taste like.
California has excellent produce, from vegetables to fruits to meat, so it is just a matter of rearranging the way those things are put together to make something that taste truly like the French stuff. Here it all starts with a lamb leg (although there is probably less expensive cut that can be used), which is deboned then diced and put in the freezer for one hour or until it is near frozen.
grinder and the sausage stuffer.
casings in warm water and to prepare the spice mix. Note that the lamb casing really smell like shit, but that's how it is supposed to smell.