Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches

I concocted this recipe based on my recollection of the sausage and peppers served at local Italian festivals. I have played around with it a bit and this is exactly what I was looking for. Add a cup of house red or a can of cheap beer and this is what summer tastes like to me!

1 lb Italian rope sausage (sausages usually come in hot or sweet, I usually go with hot because the spice is half the fun of this sandwich)
Water for boiling
1-2 tbsp olive oil (enough to thinly cover the bottom of your skillet)
2-3 cubanelle peppers (or other thin frying pepper, green peppers are too thick and don't have the right texture)
1-2 Italian long hot peppers (to taste, these peppers can be very spicy, see notes below on choosing and preparing peppers to control the heat*)
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
Dry Sherry or wine
4 Italian rolls

Bring water to a boil on high in a medium pot. Prick sausage all over with fork and boil in the water for 10 minutes. You should see fat starting to leak out of the holes.

Meanwhile slice peppers into thin strips.

Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Using tongs, remove sausage from boiling water to a cutting board. Cut sausage into desired size chunks to fit the rolls. Transfer sausage links to skillet and brown on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, rotating them to brown on all sides.

Once sausages are starting to brown add the peppers, salt, and pepper, stirring to coat in the oil. Cook until peppers soften and sausages are cooked to 160 in the center.

Turn heat down, add garlic and herbs, saute for a minute to just color the garlic, then add sherry/wine to deglace the pan, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan.

Turn the heat back to medium and cook until the liquid cooks off a bit and the sauce is more oily and less watery.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the buns. Serve sausage and peppers in the buns with a generous drizzle of the pan juices.

* When choosing long hot peppers, look for dark, shiny, deeply twisted or wrinkled, striated peppers if you want very hot, otherwise stick to smoother, lighter green, straighter peppers without the twists for less heat.

To remove a lot of the heat when preparing peppers, make sure to cut off and discard the top 1/2" or so to avoid the hottest part, then carefully slice out all white pithy parts and remove all seeds. Leave some pith and seeds behind to keep them hotter.

When cutting these peppers up, avoid touching them as much as possible (you can use a fork to manage them or wear gloves),. If you do touch them wash your hands immediately with lots of soap, rinse thoroughly and DO NOT touch your face or eyes. The pepper oil can really burn.

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