Benjamin ArtaizYesterday, Matt’s in the Market cook Benjamin Artaiz recounted childhood memories

Benjamin ArtaizYesterday, Matt’s in the Market cook Benjamin Artaiz recounted childhood memories filled comfort foods and Spanish spices while looking to a future in Spain. His signature dish at Matt’s features Merguez sausages, spicy lamb sausages rich with piquillo peppers and paprika, part of the sausage program he is spearheading at the restaurant. “These are the familiar flavors of my childhood. I think that’s always what it comes back to. Here you have a dish that I’m making where it’s not something I had growing up but it reminds me of everything I had growing up,” said Artaiz. He made the original batch from collected lamb trim from lamb racks served at the restaurant and the result was a hit. Order it off the menu at Matt’s or attempt a version of it at home. Roasted Merguez Sausage with Salsa Romesco and Fennel-Watercress SaladYield: 12 – 8oz sausagesMerguez4 pounds ground lamb shoulder1 pound ground pork back fat2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons kosher salt2 teaspoons sugar2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes2 tablespoons Spanish paprika1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons minced garlic1½ cups diced roasted piquillo peppers1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano1/3 cup Spanish red wineCombine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed (or sturdy spoon) until the liquid is incorporated and the mixture has developed a uniform, sticky appearance (about 2 minutes). Cook a small portion and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Stuff the sausage into hog casings and twist into 6-inch links, or form into patties. Gently roast at 250° for 20-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°.Romesco¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil1 white onion4 cloves garlic1/3 cup blanched, roasted marcona almonds1 cup roasted piquillo peppers1 tablespoons sherry vinegar2 tablespoon lemon juice1 teaspoon Spanish paprika½ tablespoon saltPeel and quarter the onion, and peel the garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and roast in a 350° oven until soft, about 25 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Fennel-Watercress Salad1 bulb fennel2 bunches watercress1 teaspoon lemon juice2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oilpinch of saltThinly slice the fennel against the grain, discarding the core. Gently toss with the watercress. Drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil and add salt. To ServeSpread two tablespoons of Salsa Romesco on a plate. Slice the Merguez sausages in thirds and place on the salsa. Dress with the Fennel-Watercress salad.