Peggy Lampman's Thursday dinnerFeed: Grilled Mediterranean Sausages with Tzadziki, Grilled Peppers and Onions
Peggy Lampman | Contributor
One predictable fact is many Michiganders will be dusting off their grills this Memorial Day weekend, no matter what the forecast. Because even if we’re flipping burgers under an umbrella or wearing a down jacket, Memorial Day officially kicks off the summer grilling season.
If your grilling skills are rusty after the winter hiatus, easy-fixing, crowd-pleasing sausages could rebuild your confidence behind the flame. No need to be concerned if the meat is rare or medium-rare--most sausages should be cooked throughout. And there’s something for everyone: Hot dogs for the kids, tofu kielbasa for my vegetarian friends, and Mediterranean Sausage Rolls for the rest of us.
His Merguez lamb sausages, in fact, inspired this recipe. I purchased some of these as well as Chicken and Spinach sausages, both wonderful accompaniments with tzadziki (cucumber-yogurt sauce), roasted peppers, grilled onions and rolls.
Popular toppings for these sausages could include crispy French fried potatoes or Harissa, a hot red pepper sauce.The garlicky sausages have the perfect amount of spice for me, so a cooling cucumber sauce is the perfect counterpoint. That, and a cold beer.
Busch’s Markets and Plum Market make fresh sausages in-house as well. Their Chicken-Spinach & Feta Sausage would be a savory choice for this recipe, and Whole Foods also stocks a wide range of house-made sausages. At Arbor Farms you will find pork sausages crafted from a Michigan certified organic hog farm, Black Oak Farm in Fenton. And, of course, you can depend on the People's Food Coop to provide an array of sausages for your vegetarian crowd, such as the vegan "Tofurky" brats and kielbasas.
Freshly baked, toothsome sausage rolls or baguettes can be deliciously messy; the chewier the bread, the greater likelihood of tzadziki leakage. Some folks may prefer a softer hoagie-styled bun for an easier grip. I love chewy breads and don’t mind a little dribble, as long as cameras, including camera phones, are confiscated at the front door. So pass me a napkin--and another beer, if you please.
Yield: 6-8 sausage rolls
Time to drain diced cucumber: 15-30 minutes
Active Time: 40 minutes
Cost: apx. $23
1 large cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, then cut into small (1/4-inch) dice
(1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs (dill or mint, or combination of both)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup (14 ounces) plain, strained, Greek-styled yogurt (I use Fage 2 percent)
1 large red bell pepper
6-8 uncooked lamb or chicken sausages
1 large red onion, papery skin removed then cut into 1/3-inch slices
6-8 sausage rolls, baguettes or hoagie-styled hot dog buns*
Extra virgin olive oil
*I purchased freshly baked Sausage Rolls from Whole Foods.
1. Place diced cucumbers on paper towels or in a fine mesh sieve; lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Let drain 15-30 minutes, pressing into towels or sieve with spoon to release excess moisture.
2. To make the tzadziki, combine cucumbers with herbs, garlic and yogurt; season to taste with kosher salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Place whole red pepper on well-oiled grill grates. Grill pepper until charred and blackened on all sides, then place in a paper or plastic bag to lightly steam.
4. While red pepper steams, grill sausages and onion slices; onions should be lightly browned and sausages cooked throughout, about 10 minutes on each side.
5. Remove pepper from bag, and peel off excess blackened skin from pepper. (Avoid rinsing pepper as the water removes much of the smoked flavor.)
Remove and discard stem end, slice through pepper lengthwise and remove and discard membranes and seeds. Slice remaining pepper into strips.
6. Brush cut side of sausage rolls with olive oil. Place on grill and lightly toast. Spread 2-3 tablespoons cucumber-yogurt sauce on toasted bun. Place sausage, grilled pepper slices and onion into bun and serve.