Italian Sausage with sliced roast potato and mielie and a fresh pepperdew and olive salad.
I was trying out some sausage (hello double-entendre – pleased to meet you, I’m Jono) I’d gotten from a stall at the Bryanston market and needed something to go with it. It ended up being this, something I’m filing under “plain but pleasing”.
Just a word about pepperdews, for those who haven’t encountered these South African sweet peppers. They’re available pretty much everywhere, usually pickled in a fragrant vinegar, much like you’d expect from a jar of gherkins or pickled onions – and they’re completely delicious. However, their strong sweet/sour flavour does tend to dominate just about anything they’re paired with and so I’ve used fresh ones for this salad. Fresh pepperdews have a much subtler (but still quite zingy) taste that’s way more eager to let other flavours into the party, rather than just hogging the limelight for themselves. If you can find them, I suggest snatching them up without any hesitation. If you can’t get pepperdews, normal red bell peppers are fine (unfortunately just a bit blander), but try the smaller varieties as they tend to be sweeter and make sure you slice them quite thinly.
Fresh Sausage (whatever you fancy, whether it be Boerie, Pork Sausage, Lamb…whatever really)
3 or 4 Potatoes
2 Mielies (corn on the cob – the internet being a ‘global village’ and all…)
1 handful of fresh pepperdews (de-seeded and chopped into ribbons)
1 handful of black olives (de-pitted and roughly chopped)
2 tbsp of the juice from the olive jar
1 smallish brown onion (sliced into rings)
Sage (I used it because I had some lying around, but you can use whatever herbs you have in your cupboard, I’m not a herb fascist…)
Salt & Pepper
What to do
So, this is my method for when I want to do roast potatoes and I just don’t have the patience to wait around:
Prick your potatoes once or twice with a sharpish knife and slap them straight in the microwave for about 10 minutes or so (I have an ancient microwave so you might want to do it for a little less time) until they’re about 90% cooked.
While you’re doing that, boil your mielies in a pot of salted water for about the same amount of time, then drain.
Carefully (they’ll be hot like a fireman’s pants) cut the potatoes and the mielies into inch-thick slices, place onto a baking tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the chopped sage. Add about two thumb-sized slices of butter (or olive oil if you’re healthier than me) and toss it all together until everything is coated nicely. Turn your oven grill up to about 200°C (I don’t know what it is in Farenheit but I’m sure you can work it out, or just go with the idea of “three-quarters as hot as your oven can go) and let it all crisp up.
Combine the chopped pepperdews, olives, onion and olive juice in a bowl, mix it up and set aside. Get a non-stick pan nice and hot, and toss in the mix (you don’t need any oil, the olive-juice will do it all) and, stirring energetically, literally just soften everything up in the pan. Remove from the heat and toss it all with the lettuce. Mix together a tablespoon of honey and a splash of soy sauce for a dressing and you’re smiling.
Obviously I’ve used a ridged pan for my version of the sausage, but you can honestly just use the same pan you used for the salad. Just give it a wipe with a paper towel before getting it nice and hot again, and without adding any extra fat, brown up your sausages before adding them to the roasted potato and mielies and serve with the salad.
So, nothing fancy… but I guess one of those dinners that might be called “hearty” if you’re in one of those adverts where there’s a roaring fire somewhere and a guy with blow-dried hair and a polo-neck jersey lurking to one side.