Sausage and Pepper Salad with Golden Crostini
“Sauseege and pippeez” is our street fair favorite. The scent wafting from the vendor carts conjures up memories of my grandmother’s Italian kitchen. Updated for a new generation, here the sausages and vegetables are perched atop lettuce and licoricey fennel rather than tucked into fat, doughy rolls. Ciabatta bread is sliced and toasted for a crispy crouton-like contrast to the salad.
- 2 hot Italian sausage links, meat removed from casings
- 4 sweet Italian sausage links, meat removed from casings
- 1 yellow pepper, cut in 1/2-inch strips
- 1 large shallot or 2 small, sliced crosswise
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 5 slices ciabatta bread
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, well dried, and crisped in refrigerator, and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
- In large skillet, saute sausage meat. Using a metal spatula to break the pieces up, cook until it is golden brown and with some crispy bits, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the peppers and shallots to the same pan. Saute to soften, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the wine, cooking to reduce it to a slight glaze on the peppers. Place the pepper mixture on the plate on top of the sausage.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the garlic to the pan. Let the garlic sizzle, and remove before it is brown. Add bread and cook to golden on one side, about 2 minutes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the up side of the bread, turn, and continue cooking until crisp.
- Place the lettuce and fennel in a large bowl; add the sausage and pepper mixture. Drizzle over the vinegar, sprinkle with salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Toss well and serve in a large salad bowl topped with the shaved Parmesan and a crostini.
Note: Deglazing is a technique where a liquid (such as broth, wine, or vinegar) is used to dislodge the yummy caramelized bits that adhere to the bottom of a pan during cooking. Add the liquid when the heat is high. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape the flavor nuggets off the bottom of the pan and stir into the liquid as it reduces and concentrates in flavor.