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Friday, October 7, 2011

Grilled Sausage Panzanella

This is a great recipe for the end of summer.  It's a fantastic way to get out and use your grill a few more times before the cold weather hits.  We had this one week in early summer and then have quickly repeated it almost every week since.  It's a great, fast weeknight meal and tastes fabulous.  Grilling the bread as well as the sausage really emphasizes smoky, charred flavors in the dish.  And it's so versatile.  We always have a few packages of sausage in the freezer, usually a flavored chicken sausage.  Trader Joe's has a great selection of varieties and our favorite grocery store in the world, Wegmans, has also recently launched a line in their own brand name as well.  We've done this with pesto sausage, sun-dried tomato sausages, Italian (both sweet and hot), smoked chardonnay and apple, andouille, spinach and feta, the list can go on and on.  I bet kielbasa would be particularly good as well -- which gives me another excuse to put this dish on the menu for the upcoming week (like I needed one!).

Grilled Sausage Panzanella
adapted (and infinitely customizable) from EveryDay with Rachael Ray, June/July 2010
Serves 4

2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped (I've also used cherry/grape tomatoes that are halved and chopped heirloom tomatoes.)
1/4 large onion (or 1/2 medium), thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped 
Salt and pepper 
Four thick slices bread (Use your preferred variety, I find Italian or sourdough work well.)
4 sausage links (about 1 pound), any variety 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 

  • In a large bowl mix together the tomatoes, onion and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Preheat your grill to medium.
  • Once grill is hot and ready, grill bread slices, about 2 minutes in each side.  You want them to get toasty brown and have some charring around the edges.  
  • After removing the bread, grill the sausages.  If your sausages are precooked then you are just heating them up, so about 5-7 minutes total.  If you are using raw sausages you will need to grill until cooked completely, so about 10-12 minutes total.  Turn sausages often for even cooking/heating and nice grill marks.  
  • Add olive oil and red wine vinegar to the tomato mixture.  Cut bread into 1/2 -3/4 inch cubes.  Cut the sausages into similar sized slices.  Add the bread, sausage, basil and half the parmesan to the tomato mixture.  Toss until combined.  Divide into bowls and serve with the additional parmesan for sprinkling on top. 

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