At this time of year when so many veggies are at the peak of their freshness, I’m both gleefully excited and slightly melancholy. As I’ve mentioned before in previous blogs, my dad had a wonderful vegetable garden when I was growing up. Even when we moved to a smaller place as I got older, he still planted more in a smaller space than anyone I knew.
I live in an apartment now and don’t have a hospitable place for plant life, so I rely on the hard work of wonderful farmers who grow amazing food. One such grower, who grows year round in our Canadian climate in a greenhouse, Doef’s, grows Hungarian banana peppers that immediately take me back to my youth. A time when my dad was beaming amongst the soil filled with pepper and tomato plants.
He had his struggles with his health, just like I have had years later, but he found his joy in growing wonderful food, preparing it simply, the way he always knew.
I’ve taken his knowledge and passion and grown with it. It’s been almost 17 years since he passed away, but I carry the flavours he shared, hope I don’t “mess it up too much” and share something new.
Grilled Sausage and Banana Pepper Salad with Caramelized Cabbage Sour Cream Dressing
For the Caramelized Cabbage Sour Cream Dressing:
1 tsp cold pressed canola oil
1-1/2 cups green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp white vinegar
In a small pot over medium high heat, add the 1 tsp of oil with the cabbage and 1/2 tsp salt. Fry, stirring constantly for 7-10 minutes until the moisture content begins to draw out from the cabbage and dry, starting to lightly brown. Reduce the heat to medium, add a few teaspoons of water if the cabbage starts to stick to the bottom and continue to slowly draw that new moisture out. The cabbage will start to gradually brown over the course of the next 15-18 minutes until a deep golden colour is achieved and it holds together into an almost paste like consistency. Allow to cool.
When the caramelized cabbage is cool, stir it in a small bowl with the sour cream, oil, salt and vinegar until smoothly combined. Set aside.
For the sausage and peppers:
150g/6 oz smoked Hungarian paprika grilling sausage (or a quality smokie style sausage. I get mine at a Hungarian deli in town that makes it in-house)
2 medium sized hot Hungarian banana peppers, cut in half lengthwise,stem and seeds removed
2 tsp cold pressed canola oil
On a grill over medium high heat, grill the sausages until golden on the outside. Rub the peppers with oil and grill for a few minutes until the skin is blistered and deeply golden brown. Allow both to cool completely.
Slice the sausage in a long angular bias cut and julienne the slices. Julienne the grilled peppers.
For the salad:
Julienne sausage and peppers
1/4 cup Prepared Caramelized Cabbage Sour Cream Dressing
8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
A pinch or two of sweet paprika
In a medium bowl, toss the julienne sausage and peppers with the dressing. Divide over two plates and scatter each plate with the halved cherry tomatoes. Garnish the top with a pinch of sweet paprika. Serves 2.