With the evenings and nights finally being somewhat cooler for the last couple of days, BBQ activities have recommenced all around us in a kind of desperate way that makes you think the world is coming to a screeching halt any moment now. Much like the BBQ-Version of that loony rush on grocery stores and supermarkets the day before major holidays, everyone seems to be under the impression that there’s not going to be any food. Ever again. Starting in 1 minute.
Seeing that it’s almost September, a usually very wet month in our region (we’ll see about that, after the Summer we’ve just been through…) I kind of get the slightly panicked BBQ-’til-you-drop thing some people seem to be going through these days though. The thing about headlessly rushing into something like a BBQ party, as a couple of friends had to learn last weekend, is that you end up wanting/doing too much and, after you’ve lost your cheat sheet somewhere along the line, mixing up everything into a still delicious yet very chaotic mess – with ginormic piles of stray “Where did this come from? What should we have used this for? What on earth is this, anyways?” stacking up in the kitchen and pantry. Good thing if there’s someone who always seems to know what to do with random stuff in the crowd of guests, right? And that’s how I inherited a butcher’s baggie filled with squeaky fresh, insanely fragrant and absolutely delicious Italian Salsiccia sausages… and I had absolutely no clue what to do with them! The only thing that instantly popped into my mind was that I had decided upon using sausages on any kind for the “Wurm” recipes found on the Tyrian Menu long ago, but apart from that – for this particular moment of “what to do” meditation very useless – fact, I couldn’t think of anything apart from… sausage in one hand, a slice of dark and juicy rye in the other. Clap! Ooor… turn both into a Panzarella of some sort? I decided on napping over the matter and, when I discovered that the bread rolls I spirited away to keep the sausages company had turned into cannonballs over night, I gave the Guild’s menu and my pantry a quick scan and everything clicked into place – last night’s chaotic tumble at my friends’ kitchen, a pile of Italian sausages, a baggie of Italian pasta from the same delicacy store and this little contribution of Tyrian Chef’s Guild…
…met in my headpace and mingled into a fun, colorful and delicious salad with little meaty surprises hidden between the noodles and leaves~ In hindsight, I’d wager this would have made an excellent addition to the buffet of salads and sides our friends had set up – with the dressing kept in a jug to the side and the lettuce leaves ditched for the occasion. Food for thought for the next end-of-summer-party, I suppose~ Here we go, one large bowl or 4 single servings of my…
The Salsiccie & Pasta Salad
100-150g Fresh Salsiccia, skinned and cut into thin disks or rolled into mini-mozzarella-sized globes – If the Salsiccia comes your way freshly made or semi-cured, you can actually use/eat it raw – I always make sure it’s either because I only enjoy it that way. If you’re unsure about it’s state or your butcher’s skills, give the balls or disks a quick jump through the pan.
Alt: If you really don’t like using the raw sausages, have a go at your Italian butcher’s salami treasures. Even people who, like me, usually give the whole sausage, pork and/or salami thing a wide berth, will find something absolutely yumtastic during a thorough snoop-around in an Italian – or Spanish, for that matter – butcher’s shop. My usual haunt has a fantastic fennel salami, a mouthwatering-even-while-only-writing-about-it wild boar salami with truffels and a spicy one that’s absolutely divine… all three of them would make a perfect replacement for the salsiccia in this salad… if they ever made it that far, that is.
Opt: 100g Lamb’s Lettuce – skip it if the bowl is headed for a buffet or something like that. Unless the salad is served and eaten right away, the dressing will do nasty things to the delicate leaves in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.
½ Bunch of Basil, leaves picked and roughly chopped
½ Bunch of Arugula, stems removed, roughly chopped
250g Buffalo Mozzarella, cut into bitesized pieces – if you can find mini buffalo mozzarella balls, halve them
Alt: Mini Scamorza Balls – same idea, less potential for soggyness in case you’re planning on placing this bowl on a buffet.
200g Spelt or Buckwheat Orecchiette or Conchiglie – snoop around in a nearby organic food store because a) it’s fun and a fantastic opportunity to discover interesting new things – chickpea pasta, for example. Food for thought… and b) you’re looking for noodles made from any type of flour that adds a hearty, nutty note to the dish. Organic food stores are your best bet to find that kind of pasta.
A drizzle of your favorite intense Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 small Shallots, very finely diced
10 Sun-dried Tomatoes, thinly sliced
250g Red & Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, halved
Coarse Sea Salt and freshly cracked Pepper
Opt: Pitted Black Olives
1) Cook the pasta according to their packet instructions until they’re al dente.
2) Thoroughly rinse them with ice cold water to stop the cooking process and give the colander a hearty shake once you’re done.
3) Set the noodles aside for the time being – shake and gently toss them from time to time to get rid of any remaining cooking water hiding inside.
4) Keep the basil leaves in a small bowl for later and add all the other ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
1 large Fresh Organic Egg – you’re about to use it raw, for a mayonnaise’y dressing, so make extra sure it’s fresh
2 Cloves of Garlic, very finely chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Honey
75ml Grapeseed Oil
Tomato infused Balsamic Vinegar or White Balsamic Vinegar to taste
A very generous Pinch each of Sea Salt and Freshly cracked Pepper
1) Crack the egg into a mixing bowl large enough to hold both the dressing and the noodles – shake their current home, while we’re at it – and lightly beat it with a whisk.
2) Add the garlic, honey and mustard, give the bunch a good stir, add a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and whisk the lot into a smooth mayonnaise.
3) Have a taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency with salt, pepper and vinegar.
4) Pour the dressing over the noodles and give everything a good swirl so the pretty orecchiette are evenly coated and glossy.
5) Now carefully fold in the other ingredients and have an everything-on-one-spoon taste to judge. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
6) Scatter the bowl or individual portions with the basil leaves and the optional Lamb’s Lettuce and gently fold them into the mix just before serving.