Fun with Food (baked sausage, sorrel & parmesan crusted tomatoes)
Over the last couple of weeks, I have tried a couple of new cooking techniques and ingredients. While I’m going to talk about them together they were definitely 3 different adventures.
We still haven’t fixed our grill so when we decided we were going to have bangers and mash for dinner I was figuring that I would do the usual stove top cooking method. The downside to the stovetop method is that you have to focus on your cooking, regularly turning the sausages or adding liquid if the sausage was cooking too quickly. It crossed my mind that there had to be a oven baked cooking method where you could pretty much ignore it. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I found this recipe and decided I would give it a try.
We have good friends who participate in a CSA, where they get fresh vegetables, fruit and eggs from a local farm each week. They were going out of town and Offered us their share for the week. The only caveat is I had to use the ingredients to cook two servings for one of them. Obviously I agreed and went on a grand adventure with my father to pick it up. I got onions, potatoes, peppers, peaches, plums, apples, tomatoes, two types of basil, garlic, and sorrel.
Neither my father or I have never had the sorrel green So we tried it. It had a tart flavor. We took a large “as much as you can eat” portion and went our our way. We started talking about adding it to our salad or using it solely as the leafy green, but then I thought about sautéing it with garlic and olive oil like I would spinach and stuff some chicken breasts with it. I didn’t know that it turns brown and gets slimy when you cook it. It also shrinks significantly. With the addition of spinach, roasted red peppers, feta and cream cheese, I was able to salvage it for dinner. It made a nice flavor combination.
My husband is growing hartman yellow cherry tomatoes in his garden. We brought in about 1 pound of those a day this week so I wanted to use the CSA tomatoes quickly. I got inspired for lunch and did a quick crusting of Parmesan before broiling them. I was a happy girl.
Oven Baked Sausage Directions
1. Remove the sausage from the refrigerator 10 – 15 minutes before cooking
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius)
3. Layer the baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper
4. Place the sausages evenly on the cooking sheet
5. Bake sausage for 30 minutes, turning them once at the 15 minute mark
6. Remove from oven, let rest for 5-10 minutes
Note: the original recipe says 20-25 minutes unless sausages are especially thick and then it should be 40-60. I cooked them for 30 minutes as that is how long it takes on stovetop or grill. For us it was the right timeframe.
This is super simple and resulted in juicy, browed sausage. The biggest issue for us was that the butcher wrapped all the different types of sausage together so we couldn’t tell them apart without tasting them.
Sorrel with Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper and Feta
1. Remove stems from large portion (enough to fill a colander) of sorrel
2. Heat olive oil in large skillet
3. Add 3-4 cloves garlic crushed or minced
4. Add sorrel and spinach
5. Season with adobo and pepper
6. Add in 1 roasted red pepper, cut into strips
7. Remove from heat, stir in 2 tablespoons cream cheese and 1/4 cup crumbled feta
Despite the looks of this, it made a good filling for the chicken breasts. I brushed thai basil pesto (olive oil, lemon juice, walnuts) on the outside and broiled the chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side. The one complaint was the “bones” of the sorrel, AKA strings that appeared. However, it was only “found” by one diner and only on the first bite. The sorrel added a unique flavor to the spinach mixture, and the spinach added some texture and cut down on the sliminess of the sorrel. Dinner was not only salvaged, it was unanimously considered delicious.
Parmesan Crusted Tomatoes
1. Cut tops off tomatoes and any bad spots
2. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise
3. Dip tops of tomatoes in grated Parmesan cheese
This was easy to prepare and took very little time. I ate it with some steamed fingerling potatoes and then had plums and peaches for desert.