Like Arthur Schwartz, author of The Southern Italian Table, I grew up in a Jewish household. Schwartz was flanked by Italian neighbors in the apartment building where he grew up, exposing him at a young age to the joys of not only Jewish food but also to Southern Italian cuisine. Not being blessed with Italian friends or neighbors, my experience with Italian food was limited to jarred red sauce and turkey meatballs up until the time I made my first trip to Italy.
I am a bit hesitant to admit that until that point my experience with sausage was limited to a frozen breakfast link or two, eaten with my (non-kosher) grandparents during vacation. As you would likely assume, the first real Italian sausages I ate were mind-blowing. Watching the butchers hand-stuff the casings, detecting the subtle differences from shop to shop, grilling them in a wood-fired stove, I was a quick sausage convert.
This recipe for Sausage Canapés is a great way to showcase especially fresh and well-spiced sausage. In this preparation the pork is just cooked through, and the juices are absorbed by the bread below, rendering it infinitely porky and delicious. The recipe calls for sweet sausage, but I think that the hot version would do just as well, or better yet, mix it up with a link or two of each.
- Yield:about 10 crostini
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (with or without fennel), removed from casings
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 (1/2-inch-thick) slices of bread, each about 2 by 3 inches
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the bread. With a fork, work them together until well blended.
Spread each slice of bread with an approximately 1/8-inch layer of sausage. Cover to the very edge. Place the crostini on a baking sheet. They can be prepared ahead and kept covered with plastic wrap.
Bake for 10 minutes. Run under the broiler for 30 seconds or so to brown the tops. Serve hot.