The other day I bought a package of Hickory Smoked Sausage (at Cookbook, I told you I’d be talking about that place a lot) and it came with four sausages that I stretched out over two dinners, both of which — if I do say so myself — were pretty terrific.
The first involved serving the sausage as its own thing, which almost made me do it as a separate post since the corn salad that I served along with it was really the star. Let me tell you how I made it.
It’s kind of shocking how easy it is to turn an ear of summer corn from good to amazing; funny enough, it involves shocking.
Here’s what you do: boil water. Salt it heavily. Drop in your husked corn. Boil for four minutes. Shock in ice water.
The cooking somehow makes it sweeter and the shocking helps it retain its freshness.
Use a sharp knife, cut the kernels off, and put them in a bowl. At this point you could add anything: I added a minced shallot and halved sungold tomatoes, along with olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, salt, and Aleppo pepper.
After tossing it, I realized that I still had a large, red heirloom tomato, so I cut that into cubes and added it too.
To finish, I chiffonaded some basil and stirred that in.
Admittedly, that picture should be the lead picture and this post should be just about that. Where the heck is the sausage? Calm down! I heated up a pan and melted some butter and toasted some buns in it.
Then I wiped out the pan, added a splash of grapeseed oil, and added two smoked sausages and cooked them until they were good and charred all over.
I put them on the buns, slathered with mustard, and served alongside the corn salad. I was going to put them on the same plate, but the corn salad got very wet, so this is a very unattractive picture. I’m not sure why I’m including it.
But this was a really great summer dinner that tasted like we were eating it outdoors, even though it all happened inside.
If you’re good at math, you’ll recall that I bought a package of four sausages and I used two of them, so there were still two left.
Which is why last night, I put them to work with a pound of clams that I picked up at McCall’s.
I always put clams in a bowl of cold water with a spoonful of flour to help draw out any grit. These clams were called “savory clams” which, according to the person who sold them to me, just meant they were a little brinier.
To cook ’em, I sliced the two remaining sausages, smacked some garlic cloves out of their skins (leaving them whole), and sliced up a bunch of pickled Peppadews.
(That wine was for drinking; I’d be using half a bottle in a second…)
This is so easy and so incredible, you really should try it. All you do is heat a large skillet — big enough to hold everything, and one with a lid — with a splash of olive oil. When it’s hot, you add the sausage. Let it brown on one side, then stir all around, and add the garlic.
When everything is good and toasty (and not burned) add half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc (be careful: I lower the heat before I added a liquid to a hot pan). (Also: I should say here that the sausage gave off a lot of fat, so I poured some off before adding the white wine.) I also added a splash of the Peppadew liquid, for a little zip. Then I added the sliced Peppadews and brought everything to a boil.
On Instagram stories, I called this a “flavor jacuzzi” because that’s what it was. I cooked on a low boil until the liquid reduced by half and the garlic was super tender (a knife went through each clove easily).
At this point, you add the clams. This is so easy, it’s kind of hilarious. You just lift the clams out of the bowl into the pan, put the lid on, and crank up the heat. Literally a minute later, you’ll have this:
The second the clams open, I take them out with my fingers. You don’t want to overcook the clams.
And that’s basically it: you can let the liquid reduce a bit more once the clams are out, but you don’t want to reduce it too much or you won’t have anything to dip your bread into.
Ladle the sausage and Peppadews and garlic and broth over the clams in bowls.
Serve with bread to soak up all that liquid (the bread’s the most important part). Also a crisp Muscadet works great here.
And there you have it: two dinners from one package of sausages. Package of sausage. Sausages. Copy editor, please work on that.