The inspiration for today's meal was fennel.
I had a couple of bulbs lying wait in the fridge and was at a loss to prepare them. I had plans for a pasta dish with fennel or a pork loin with fennel. . . in the end, the best-laid plans having gone awry, I opted to simply chop up the fennel bulbs and sauté the slices.
As I was getting ready to cook the fennel, I suddenly thought how lonely the fennel dish was going to be. We don't usually eat fennel! You might wonder why I picked up a couple of bulbs in the first place, and you wonder appropriately, but that is a topic for another day.
My lonely fennel needed a companion, a help-meet.
I put on my thinking cap and dreamed of Italian sausages in a bun with the sautéed fennel as a topping. Fortunately, we had some ground pork in the fridge and our spice cupboard was well-stocked.
Making the Italian sausages were not going to be a problem -- or at least, there weren't any material impediments to my making of the sausages, albeit they would just have to be skinless sausages because we did not have casings in the house.
In my dreams, I also thought of a balsamic-tomato-onion relish for my sausages, but that was a little too ambitious, considering I also had to make some skinless Filipino longganisa for the rest of the family.
Do you not sense a recurring theme here? First, it was the pork barbecue skewers gatecrashing our Korean bulgogi party. Now, Filipino longganisa. Ah, these are the trials and tribulations of preparing meals for picky people! ;) Doubles my work!
That is why you'll see I even cheated on the fennel slices and didn't sauté them on the stovetop. I simply put them on a tray with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic and let them "sauté" themselves on the grill with the sausages.
Italian Skinless Sausages
The sausages turned out very well and there was enough Italian flavour in them to make me happy.
before and after
They weren't aggressively Italian though, so if you're looking for something more fierce, then I would double the amount of fennel, bay, and oregano in the recipe.
The sausages looked lonely sitting on a bun; that didn't look right for this meal.
Arugula Spinach Pesto on Penne
TS made this pasta dish with arugula and spinach pesto, and we also had some leftover arugula and spinach leaves that we lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. They seem more fitting companions to our skinless Italian sausages.
It was quite a full plate and this meal left me very satisfied.
Italian Skinless Sausages
2 pounds ground pork
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 tsp ground bay
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
Mix everything together in a bowl and form into sausages of desired girth and length. Pan-fry or grill.