Not so many years ago, I was a picky eater of the worst kind. I had an enormous list of things I didn't like and I was a master of picking off and eating around things I didn't like. Which.....was very nearly everything! If there was even the smallest chunk of tomato in the pasta sauce I'd flick it rudely away. That sauce needed to be a pefect puree for this picky person!
And these things:
These things used to terrify me. But gradually (okay, it really was wanting to not seem like a immature child in front of my now-husband), I overcame my bad habits and began to like very nearly everything. Peppers, tomatoes, and onions didn't have the power to send me fleeing....so long as they were cooked!
It wasn't until a few months after the great tastebud reset of 2011 (Vegetarian Challenge) that changed my palate entirely, that I noticed something. I was snacking on slices of crisp peppers as I chopped them up for another dish. And then another time, as I sliced a tomato I had to sprinkle salt on it and eat it up right then and there which was something I had never ever done before. Incidentally, this is when I noticed that wine finally didn't taste like sour grape juice. There were nuances! Nuances! And I could taste them and they were delicious!
Ahem! I digress. Back to tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
And hot sausage. Oh, yes.
Hot sausages bursting with juices surrounded by tender vegetables are just waiting to be in tucked into torpedo rolls and gobbled up. You have no idea how difficult it was to fend off my family while I took the pictures when really I wanted to stab my fork into the skillet and grab the plumpest sausage before anyone else could.
Hot Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches are a local favorite in this part of Pennsylvania. Block parties, church events, community days, and firemen's fairs all serve this sandwich and I do my best to follow my nose to the tent serving these sandwiches and get in the long line to wait my turn. And it's always been worth the wait.
It took missing my town's community day last year* to realize that there was no reason I couldn't make this sandwich myself. This is the perfect time of year to make them too because everyone has piles and piles of tomatoes and peppers tumbling out of their gardens. Pick your own, beg, borrow, or steal from a neighbor (and if you filch from the neighbor you better bring him or her over a sandwich! Trust me, they'll forgive you.) and make Hot Sausage & Pepper Sandwiches for dinner.
I make homemade torpedo rolls but you can find them at the grocery store as well where they are more often called 'sausage rolls' which are thick, crusty elongated rolls conveniently the length of a sausage. It's important to get the right type of rolls because this sandwich is so juicy that regular rolls can't hold up long enough to eat it.
Oh, and by the way? Sliced watermelon is a perfect companion; it's cooling and sweet which is especially good if you have little ones joining you for dinner.
Hot Sausage & Pepper Sandwiches
5-6 Italian hot sausages
2 peppers, red, yellow, green--any combination--sliced into strips
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, cut into rings
1 tsp dried oregano (increase amount if using fresh)
1 tsp dried basil (increase amount if using fresh
salt and pepper to taste
5-6 torpedo rolls
1. In a deep skillet, brown sausages on both sides and remove from pan. Drizzle a little olive oil and saute onions and peppers until softened. Stir in tomatoes, oregano, and basil. If you aren't using tomatoes grown in your garden or your neighbors, you might wish to add a teaspoon of sugar to cut the bite of a conventiona store bought tomato. Return sausages to the pan and nestle them into the vegetables.
2. Cover and simmer 40-45 minutes, stirring periodically to make sure the vegetables aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan. Salt and pepper if desired.
3. Split torpedo rolls, tuck in a sausage and pile on the vegetables and enjoy!
*When I was a picky eater, I still ate this sandwich only sans peppers, tomatoes, and onions and I never looked at the sausage once I bit it because there were strange unidentifiable spices inside those things! I am so happy to be past that silly nonsense.