Cravings. I don’t have those serious I have to have (fill in the nasty fast food blank) cravings I used to have. Those: I don’t want to cook and I have to have this specific cheesy, salty, greasy, smelly, sweet, sour whatever it is from (fill in the nasty fast food place blank) sort of cravings. I don’t want hamburgers any more at all. I still want pizza quite often. I still love Mexican food. I don’t necessarily crave this stuff but every once in a while, something fast food like sounds really good. The thing that is good about cooking something that would fit right into a fast food venue at home is that it is quick to have at home but it will taste a hundred times better because you made it at home and you are in control of the quality of the ingredients.
Sausages are often a bargain at my local market and they are really good quality. I can pick from many different varieties from not so healthy pork or lamb to very lean, healthy poultry versions of the same thing. Pair these delicious meaty morsels with fresh veggies and really good sourdough bread and you have something that transcends the pedestrian sum of its parts.
I made a couple of changes to the sausage sandwich recipe from a back issue of Gourmet and I like the results a lot. One reason to try this recipe is for the onion and pepper mixture. I made my own version a few times prior to finding this recipe and the sandwiches turned out ok. Good but nothing special. I stumbled onto this recipe, which calls for a garlic paste and fennel seeds, and it is nirvana. The fennel seeds impart a sweetness to the caramelized veggies that is divine. I hope you try it. I think you’ll agree that this is one mighty fine sausage sandwich.
Sausage, Bell Pepper and Onion Sandwiches
Adapted from the December 1991 issue of Gourmet Magazine
3 Bell Peppers, preferably red, sliced thin
2 large onions, sliced thin
2 large garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle
¼ tsp whole fennel seeds
¼ cup olive oil
6 hot Italian sausage links (or mild Italian sausage or mixture of both)
2 good quality, crusty, sourdough baguettes
In a large skillet, sauté the bell peppers, onions, garlic paste and fennel seeds in the oil over medium to medium high heat. Sauté, stirring until the veggies are softened, and slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. This should take five to ten minutes.
While the veggies are cooking, Heat a lightly greased cast iron pan over medium high heat. Cook the sausages on all sides until cooked through about six to ten minutes.
Cut the bread into 5”-6” lengths to match the size of your sausages and split the bread down the middle. If you prefer warm toasted bread, pop the bread into the oven for a few minutes to lightly toast. Cut the each sausage lengthwise down the middle. Insert a sausage into the bread so that it lays flat over the bread (that way you get a bit of sausage in every bite, yum!). Generously spoon the onion/pepper mixture over the top of the sandwich. Enjoy!