Sausage and Pepper Salad with Golden Crostini

Serves 5
“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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
cook's note
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.
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