Friday, April 1, 2011
ITALIAN SAUSAGE-AND-FONTINA BISCUIT SANDWICHES
Perusing the March issue of Food and Wine, this recipe jumped out at me. I immediately clipped it and placed it in the "to do" file. Although I'd never think to serve sausage and peppers on a biscuit, the different take on this classic encouraged me to give it a try. The filling went together very quickly as did the biscuits. Using a jar of roasted red peppers further cut down the work. Dinner was on the table in under 30 minutes.
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage, pricked all over with a fork
1 large roasted red pepper cut into 1/2 inch dice (jarred is fine)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and minced
6 scallions cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
3 tbs freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs cold buttermilk (make it by adding 1 tbs vinegar to milk)
1 tbs heavy cream (I used fat free half and half)
1 tbs freshly grated Asiago
Make the sausage filling:
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil, then add the sausages. Cover and cook over moderate heat until nicely browned and cooked through (about 10 minutes). Drain the sausages and cut into 1/2 inch chunks.
Transfer the sausage to a microwave safe bowl and add the roasted red pepper, sun dried tomatoes, scallions, olives, Parmigiano, and 1/4 cup of the Fontina. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
Make the biscuits:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a baking sheet (or use Silpat as I did). In a bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Use a pastry cutter or your fingers to cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gently stir in the buttermilk until almost incorporated. Use your hands to gently mix the dough until blended.
On a lightly floured surface, pat out the dough to a rectangle about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half, then in half again to make 4 biscuits. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops with the cream, then sprinkle on the Asiago.
Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees, then turn up the oven to 400 degrees and bake 10 minutes more.
As the biscuits cool, heat the sausage mixture in the microwave. To serve, split each biscuit, top with 1/4 of the sausage, and sprinkle with the remaining Fontina.
It was incredibly difficult to eat just one of these sausage-and-Fontina biscuit sandwiches, though the pain was eased a bit by knowing I'd have one for lunch the next day. I can almost guarantee that you've never tasted anything like this before. Rendering the fat in the sausages is a favorite method of mine and one that I picked up from an issue of Food and Wine that dates back to the mid-70's. I still have the recipe, which happened to be for sausage and roasted peppers. The piquant flavor of the kalamatas alongside the spiciness of the scallions is smoothed out by the delicate Fontina. The biscuit crisped up nicely owing to the large pieces of butter scattered throughout the dough. One word of caution: I served these open-faced since I prefer to eat my food, not wear it. DSO gave it two thumbs up, a vote he repeated several times as we ate. This ain't your mama's sausage and peppers, but it is a wonderful dish that will leave you wanting seconds and thirds.