Monday, September 16, 2013

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Tomato Sausages

Just a handful of our tomato glut
After an early but slow start to our tomato season back in May, the plants are in full production mode now, pumping out newly ripe tomatoes every day. We've done our best to stay on top of the onslaught with BLT sandwiches, Caprese salads, green salads, chopped salads, and pasta sauces. I've snacked on the little cherry tomatoes out of hand like they were candy. Just this weekend, we seemed finally ahead of the recent glut with just a few tomatoes left in the kitchen.

I even wondered, as I put the finishing touches on an article Friday, whether there were enough tomatoes to use in a salad for dinner that night. I shouldn't have worried.

From the back of the house I heard the door close and, a few seconds later, the gentle thud of a stainless steel bowl against the granite counter in the kitchen. Investigation revealed: more tomatoes. The huge mixing bowl couldn't even contain all the new harvest. Tomatoes overflowed onto the counter; little cherry tomatoes and fat, ribbed Brandywines, bigger than my fist, all ready to go. Others were lined up, not quite ripe enough, but near enough to bring them inside before squirrels feast on them.

What the hell will I do with all these? More and more — and more — tomatoes every day. Then I remembered a short recipe from an old manual in the library that uses tomatoes and finely crushed crackers to augment fresh pork sausages.

The red paste of tomato pulp and crackers is an example of a panade: bread mixed with milk, stock, or other another liquid. The technique is common for making meatballs, meatloaf, and a variety of sausages, helping them remain moist after cooking — and add a bit of flavor.

I don't usually make sausage in the summer, but this may be just the recipe that'll inspire me to haul my stuffer down from the attic to inaugurate the coming of Autumn.

From A. W. Fulton's 1902 Home Pork Making, here's
Tomato Sausages 
Add one and one-half pounds pulp of choice ripe tomatoes to every seven pounds of sausage meat, using an addition of one pound of finely crushed crackers, the last named previously mixed with a quart of water and allowed to stand for some time before using. Add the mixture of tomato and cracker powder gradually to the meat while the latter is being chopped. Season well and cook thoroughly.
Goes well with:
  • My hearty recommendation of Maynard Davies' Manual of a Bacon Curer.  If you even think you may try your hand at making bacon, the book is a must-have.
  • And speaking of bacon, here's my recipe for bacon dumplings for a wicked hangover.
  • Nigel Slater's recipe for a smooth and creamy pâté
  • And then there's my take on Jennifer McLagan's book Odd Bits with its recipe for brain fritters.  Written almost two years ago, its opening line is still a bit of a conversation stopper: "I have licked the inside of a dead man’s skull, yet cannot bring myself to eat brains." 

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