The Fall Season seems to turn even our foods in to rust, red, orange and muted green colored fantasies. Seasons also affect my recipe development as was the case on a blustery autumn day when there was Italian Sweet Fennel Sausage, Calabrian N’duja(a chile spike Calabrian spreadable salami), fresh sage sitting in my fridge. Grey and chilly outside meant something warm and fall-ish needed to be cooked in the kitchen and I came up with making sausage patties with the ingredients plus some pantry items like a bag of Dried Cranberries. The pairing of savory minced meats with sweet dried fruits is a gift from the Arab countries and was brought to the Western Mediterranean during their conquests of those areas. Raisins, currants, pignoli, almonds and so forth show up in ground meat and fish dishes quite often in places like Italy and Spain. I pooled those resources to develop this VERY tasty SAGE AND CRANBERRY SAUSAGE PATTY. There’s flavors from Southern and Central Italy here but I’m modifying the recipe for the blog since N’djua is a ridiculously tough food to find for most people. Instead I’m going to use Spanish Pimenton (Smoked Paprika) and Peperoncino (Italian dried hot pepper) to replicate the flavors in the Calabrian N’duja. A little finishing of the cooked patties with Marsala or Sherry nicely rounds it all out.I’m such a fan of the sweet /savory foods. This is one of them. Serve with bread, or a vegetable or even rice.
TIME: 35 MINUTES SERVES: 2-3
2 lbs. the BEST ITALIAN PORK SAUSAGE MEAT YOU CAN GET (simply slit the casings and remove the meat) you can use ITALIAN TURKEY SAUSAGE as an alternative.
2 TBS DRIED CRANBERRIES
1 MINCED SHALLOT
3 FRESH SAGE LEAVES, FINELY CHOPPED, plus some whole leaves for garnish
4 TBS MARSALA OR SHERRY
1 TSP. GROUND RED CHILES (or PEPERONCINO)
1 TSP. SPANISH PIMENTON (SPANISH SMOKED PAPRIKA)
(if you want less “heat” from the chiles, go with 1/2 Tsp and replace with 1 tsp of sweet paprika..but use the Pimenton as well. Paprika is simply an Eastern European word for red peppers)
Mix everything except the olive oil and only use 1 tbs of Marsala or Sherry in a bowl. Combine till well blended. Let sit for 10 minutes. Now form into 4-6 patties. In a pan, add 2 tbs of olive oil and place on medium heat, and cook the patties until crusty and golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes per side. Remove the finished patties to a platter and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and deglaze it with the remaining Marsala or Sherry. Add a little more olive oil and then return the patties to the pan and simply heat them up in the pan sauce, about 2 minutes. Done. Garnish with dried cranberries and, although I didn’t when I made them in the picture, I’ve toasted almond pieces and garnished with them too. Sweet, savory, hot, porky, Mediterranean, herby, and with the almonds, crunchy. This is when food talks back to you and you response, GRAZIE or Thank you. Happy Cooking!!
note: no salt added, why? Sausage is well salted. Adding salt to these patties would make them way too salty.