Sausage sandwich gets `loads' of praise

June 13, 1999|By Rob Kasper

A MAJOR ASSET of a grilled sausage sandwich is the "load" that comes with it, as in the mix of grilled onions and peppers tossed or "loaded" on the sausage.

A loaded sausage is ideal summer fare. All that smoke and all those peppers benefit from being in a well-ventilated setting, like a ballpark. This year, for example, whenever I go to an Oriole game at Camden Yards, I usually get a grilled, "loaded" sausage.

The other night when I wanted to make "loaded sausages" in my back yard, I had to steal a recipe from a Boson Red Sox fan, Chris Schlesinger. Schlesinger operates the East Coast Grill restaurant in Cambridge, Mass., and, along with his colleague, John Willoughby, has written several books on barbecue and grilling, including "Big Flavors of the Hot Sun" (Morrow, 1994). Even though Schlesinger roots for the Red Sox, I like him and his recipes.

His recipe for "Fenway Sausage Bombs" is a creation that Schlesinger said is modeled after the sandwiches made by George, a sausage cart vendor who works in front of Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.

Being an Oriole fan, I had to make a few substitutions to the Boston sausage. For instance, his recipe called for Inner Beauty Hot Sauce, a fiery creation of Schlesinger's that is made with habanero peppers. I didn't have any of this sauce made by a Red Sox fan.

But I did happen to have a bottle of "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," a fiery, homemade sauce made by Boog Powell, the former Oriole first baseman and a pepper aficionado. The bottles were left over from a sauce-making session conducted at Boog's home last September.

Boog showed me how he made sauce with peppers grown in his back yard. At the end of the sauce-making session, Boog gave me a few bottles of his homemade wonders.

So the other night, I added a sprinkle of Boog's powerful pepper sauce to my grilled sausage. Sure enough, the sauce added an extra wallop to the load.

I went easy on the hot sauce, using less than the quarter cup recommended in the recipe. You could, I suppose, leave it out. But that would make your sausage load as bland as a ballpark with artificial turf.

Fenway Sausage Bombs

Serves 8

3 red bell peppers, halved

2 green bell peppers, halved

3 red onions, halved

1/4 cup virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or lemon juice

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, (oregano, basil, thyme, sage, alone or any combination)

1/4 cup hot sauce (your favorite)

8 extra large sausages

8 sub rolls, 8-12 inches long

Rub the bell peppers and onions with 2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill over medium hot fire for 3 to 4 minutes until slightly charred. (In this case, it is better to have them undercooked than too charred.) Remove from grill and slice into thin strips.

In a large bowl, combine the grilled peppers and onions with remaining olive oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic, herbs and hot sauce. Mix well. This is your "load."

Over a medium fire, grill the sausages slowly, 10 to 15 minutes, or until a peek inside shows no traces of pink. While sausages are cooking, open rolls and toast lightly on grill.

Remove rolls and sausages from grill. Put the "load" in the roll, before adding the sausage.

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