Food for thought: the sausage salad

So I love food and I love cooking. A hell of a lot actually. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to view cooking as a meditation of sorts – it’s a peaceful time in which I can let go of any worries, concerns or thoughts about the day and just get into the groove of making some delicious, nutritious meals which, to top it all of, I then get to eat myself!

With this in mind, I think I’m going to write a little bit about food on this blog, probably in the form of sharing some basic, decently healthy and deliciously tasty dishes that I’ve come to love and depend on, me being a bit of an uncultured foodie and all.

When you’ve done a full day’s work, there’s really nothing better than getting home, putting on some tunes and deciding what’s going to be on the menu that evening. The most difficult and infuriating part of this process can often be deciding what to have following the completion of a full week’s shop. Will it be something from the arsenal of classic, straightforward dishes such as pork chops & mashed potatoes perhaps, or my personal favourite, Chilli. Or do you step out of your comfort zone a little and choose something from that wagamama cook book everyone loves so much?

For a man who left for University struggling to not fuck up a full english, entirely dependent on the kind assistance of a few flatmates to show him the basics (“see, this is how you cook pasta”), ‘adventure’ for me rarely goes beyond a fish pie or a risotto. Nonetheless, as with everything in life practice makes perfect, and slowly but surely I’ve become a lot more confident in the kitchen.

Just last year me and my brother, to the amazement of many of our friends, cooked a full Christmas dinner for the family. We weren’t particularly adventurous (turkey, roasties, veg, gravy and all that jazz), but as anybody who has tried to cook for 9 people will surely appreciate, timing everything correctly is pretty darn difficult. When everything worked pretty much to perfection, our family stuffing themselves silly and declaring how good of a job we had done, we both felt pretty proud.

First off today, I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite lunch-time dishes: the sausage salad. Yes that’s right. I once proposed this for lunch to a housemate, who gave me a look as if I’d just suggested David Moyes ought to be manager of the season. However, it’s dead easy and it really is pretty amazing. Depending on what kind of sausages you have, there’s a couple of different ways I cook like to cook them.

If I’ve got the good stuff in (90%+ pork) then I’ll just slice the sausage up into chunks, and fry it in a pan. If I’ve got just regular ones, i’ll often ‘squeeze’ the meet out this skin, which looks and feels pretty disgusting but it allows for a great distribution of sausage in your salad. While frying, break up the portions of meet into small chunks as they begin to cook, and then add some chopped onion, garlic, and anything else you fancy throwing in (mushroom goes well). You can also add a little bit of smoked bacon, or ham, or chorizo, if you want a particularly meaty salad. While you can grill/George Forminate the sausages and then slice them up, I prefer to cook them in a frying pan so that the flavour from the meat infuses with all the veg.

Once this has all cooked I’ll sometimes add a bit of BBQ sauce (home and bargain do a decent one for 39p) but mostly just a healthy serving of salt, pepper, and sometimes paprika. Chop up a few slices of cheese (extra or vintage mature, of course) into little cubes. Add to a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber et al, drizzle some mayo over the top, and enjoy.

The result is a really fulfilling meal that offers a satisfaction that a regular salad can sometimes fail to deliver. Plus you get a decent amount of veg and greens in you. Protein too, so that in the end there’s very little that isn’t good for you in there. Unless you buy those dubious looking sausages containing god knows what. I suppose cheese and mayo could be left out if you’re trying to eat really healthily, but honestly I wouldn’t ever consider such a step -the tangy flavour and crucial moisture the combination offers is too delicious.

So yeah, it might sound a little unusual, but sausage salads are really quite fantastic. Give them a go and enjoy.

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