You know what everyone claims to love but I never actually see enough of?! SANDWICHES. And there’s no better sandwich for chilly, boring February than hot Italian sausEEEEGe, with peppers and onions. Bonus treat: this whole fandango fits INSIDE a roll, concealing it from everyone you want to hide your sandwich from. “What? This?! This is just a boring old roll. Move along. NO more questions.” But there’s really a sandwich inside! And it’s really good! And, of course, cheap and easy, but I don’t think I should have to keep repeating that about my recipes. Someone might get the wrong idea. Off we go!
Hot Italian sausage (one link per person/roll)
White onion sliced thinly
Green bell peppers, sliced thinly (also, obviously, the fancy red and orange and yellow would be amazing here, but the $1.50 cheaper green ones are NOT CRUMMY at all)
Small, unsliced sub rolls (we get Bolillos from the local Mexican market, they are amazing, shaped like footballs, work the best and are available wherever avocados, pinatas, and ten limes for a dollar are sold)
Pinch fennel seeds, smashed into oblivion
Pinch dried oregano, crushed into a powder (just put some in your palm above your bowl/skillet/workspace, and smush the heel of your other hand into it, creating “oregano dust” or “Italian pizzeria fairy dust”)
Pinch dried chili flakes
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Dry vermouth, or lemon water, for deglazing
Spicy mustard for serving
This is very easy, but let’s walk through it; at least that helps my timing. First you want to caramelize the onions. Heat your oil in a large skillet over medium, and throw in onions and salt. Sweat them a bit until they’re soft, about 5 minutes or less. Add fennel, oregano, and chili flakes and continue cooking a few more minutes. Add the peppers and adjust seasonings. Cook until they begin to soften and sweeten as well.
Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium high to fry the sausages until they’re halfway cooked. Get them browned and blistered on each side then turn the heat down to medium low and cook for a few minutes. Then dump them in the pan with the veggies and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
To deglaze: put the little sausage pan back on the heat and turn to high again. Pour some dry vermouth or, if you have none, a little water and a squeeze of lemon, into the pan. It will boil up and sizzle and steam immediately, during which you can scrape the bottom of the pan with a whisk, wooden spoon, or spatula to get up all the sticky brown bits. When the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has reduced, pour the remainder over the sausage, onion, pepper party and give everything a good turn. Put the lid or the aluminum back on, and let it all sizzle for about 15 minutes, during which time you can heat them rolls.
Preheat oven to 300 and pop the bollilos in. Let them warm for a bit, while the rest continues cooking and you’re almost there! When you’re ready to assemble these suckers, take out the roll, split carefully down the middle, but leave about a half inch un-split on either end. Line that baby with mustard and a some peppers and onions, and then wedge the sausage into you new little pocket of secret awesome sandwich. Top with more mustard and close it up. Hide from enemies. Enjoy on the sly.