Friday, February 19, 2010

Spicy Sausage Panini

MLB Network has been showing, every Thursday night, an episode of Ken Burns's spectacular Baseball. I watch the 18 1/2 hour documentary every spring; it feels like a transfusion. Perhaps my favorite episode was on last night: "The National Pastime." It covers the 1940s: DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak and Ted Wiliams hitting .406 in 1941, baseball during World War II (including a beautiful, metaphoric photo of Japanese-Americans playing baseball at Manzanar), and Jackie Robinson's debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. I couldn't think of a better reason to make dinner at home and hang out in front of the TV. (A new episode of Baseball, the "10th Inning," will premier this fall, 16 years after the original. There are very few things in my life that I have ever looked forward to as much as this.)

The other day at the butcher shop I noticed a new sausage called "Sierra Madre Caliente." I inquired about it and was told it contained both bell and jalapeno peppers. That sounded great to me so I got a couple. I was toying with the idea of making a pizza, but I've had pizza twice in the last four days. (Sunday night - Valentine's Day - I made three kinds of grilled pizza at my friends Dave and Min's house and it was great, along with several nice bottles of wine. I accidentally erased the pictures, which apparently is much easier to do with my new camera. It's going to take me a while to stop kicking myself for that.) So I opted to make panini instead. It's been a while since I've grilled my own sandwich. 

I loosely crumbled the sausage and cooked it in a pan. I sliced a few pieces of French bread and threw some globs of goat cheese on them, topping it with the sausage and chopped basil. While the french fries were cooking I grilled the panini on the press. 

The sandwiches were quite good but the sausage was nowhere near as spicy as I'd been led to believe. My reason for using the creamy goat cheese was to offset the expected heat, but it never came. There is no question I would make these again - hell, maybe even for lunch today - but next time I will try adding some pepperoncini, or maybe even grilled jalapeno. 

No comments: