Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lazy Coder Cuisine: Balsamic Sausage Chunks (aka Venetian Sausage Bites)

(note: I decided to use title prefix "Lazy Coder Cuisine" to make it easier to find food/drink recipes from the Blog -- who knows, maybe it could even lead to a virtual cook book over time!)

On my quest to find recipes with exceptionally high value/effort ratio, I came across this gem. It is basically a very simple snack, offering good taste (if non-stellar looks) with modest effort. To give credit where it is due I found the source recipe (Venetian Sausage Bites) at Food Network web site.

Basic idea is very simple:

  1. Take sausage -- uncooked sweet italian sasusage suggested (whatever is convenient package; 6 sausages recommended)
  2. Poach (cook in boiling water) for a bit (6 - 7 minutes); slice into bite-sized pieces
  3. Fry slightly on skillet, using as much olive oil as necessary (like 2 table spoons) to get bit of color, firm texture
  4. Add balsamic vinegar (1 cup; more if you want more sauce), simmer to reduce into syrupy sauce (15 - 20 minutes or s)

And the result is a very tasty cocktail snack, in about half an hour (and probably less if you are in a hurry). Results have interesting looks, charcoal black, which is bit acquired taste; but taste itself has broader appeal I think.

But wait! There is room for further simplification (as well as for variation) here. For one, you can just use cooked sausage (and obviously vary different kinds), which gets rid of the second step. And if you like bit of additional fat and salt, feel free not to discard melted fat after step 3.

It is actually kind of cool how flexible balsamic vinegar is; considering how different resulting reduction tastes compared to source material. Plus it is probably easy to further pimp the recipe -- I bet adding bit of cream could not hurt the sauce... maybe even add something like apple sauce for added hint of sweetness (best sauce for ham, for example, adds mustard, cream and apple sauce on fat melted from ham... and maybe dash of pepper).

The main consideration here is just what to serve these with, if anything. As cocktail snacks, can definitely serve them stand-alone. But other typical companions of sausages should work well too (serve with scrambled eggs?).

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