I know it’s not quite summer, but where I live grilling season has started. That means when I have a casual get-together with friends (which we do a couple of times a week) I will be cooking outside more often than not.
It’s nice to sit out by the pool and eat something in a casual setting that is delicious and hot off the grill.
But just because you are eating outside and cooking on the grill doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative. Because as much as I like grilled foods, they tend to look a little boring on the plate sometimes. Those char-marks are great. But grilling in general tends to produce foods (even most veggies) that are, well, brown. I needed something pretty on the plate too.
So I decided to do a pesto with these grilled sausages. An arugula pesto. Grilled Sausages with Arugula Pesto
These sausages are quite a treat. In fact this whole recipe was adapted to go with these Thomasville Italian sausages as an answer to their recent Create Your Own ____Ville challenge. Mine is called Pestoville.
I used both sweet and spicy Italian sausages. These sausages are well-spiced and a great contrast to each other. So I wanted to choose a pesto that would highlight the best qualities in each style of sausage. I am going to cook these on the grill. But I am going to use a fry-pan on the grill for the first part of the cooking. I like to prick a small hole in the sausages before I cook them. By using a pan they will cook in their own juices for a bit. Making for a crisp and shiny skin. Then once cooked through, I will transfer them directly to the grate of the grill. Some fat will ooze out causing flames that will lick these sausages to complettion. It’s a little trick I like to use to keep the sausages from drying out on the grill.
The arugula pesto was actually a very easy choice. Arugula, with its peppery notes, and nutty Parmesan cheese are perfect together. Just bold enough to stand up to these sausages. The sweet sausages have notes of anise and the hot sausages have just enough spicy heat to pair well with the big bold tastes in my pesto.
And of course the bright green does dress-up these sausages and make them arrive at the party looking like a movie-star.
I am going to serve these sausages with two other treats straight from the grill. Grilled red peppers and grilled rustic bread slices slathered in garlic and olive oil.
The peppers compliment the sausages and we’ll need that crunchy bread to make sure we get every bit of that tasty pesto off the plate and in our mouths.
A big manly meal like this calls for a big bold wine. My brother Grant (Sip, I’m Sup) has chosen a California Zin. Is there really any other kind?
1 bunch arugula (about 4 ounces), stems trimmed, washed
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 assorted Italian pork sausages (about 1 pound), both hot and sweet varieties
Pesto: This can be done up to a week in advance. Hold the pesto in the refrigerator until ready to use it. Place the arugula, parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, scraping down sides if necessary. Add cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and puree until smooth and well combined.
Sausages: Heat grill to medium-high heat. Prick sausages with fork to allow excess fat to drip. you may start the sausages in a fry pan. I do.Then move them to the flames to finish. Grill until cooked barely through, about 6-8 minutes. Serve the pesto with the grilled sausages.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
NOTE: This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living Magazine