Two weeks ago, Jedd and I packed our bags and headed to Maine for two nights and one glorious day of hanging out on the beach. Sure, early April isn’t the warmest time to play near the ocean – but we were lucky enough to have the sun shining and temperatures that were in the upper 50s.
In other words, it was perfect.
Because it was in the off-season, it was just us and the people who lived there. In fact, it was so “off-season” that we were the only people staying in the motel. Even the office closed after 9 p.m.
Have you ever been the only people in a motel on the beach with a full moon and an empty parking lot? It’s eerie and awesome at the same time.
But the lack of tourists didn’t mean that everything was closed. We had some great meals and chatted with cool bartenders and wait staff while we dined.
And this meal was inspired by a soup that Jedd had at a – there’s no other way to put this – bizarre sports bar that was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The reason I describe it as “bizarre” is because I’ve opened and closed places that serve alcohol, and trust me on this, the guy who’s there until last call isn’t necessarily the person I would want to see stroll in for eggs benedict five hours later.
That might be just me, though.
So, that’s what I was pondering while I ate the greatest turkey club sandwich of my life, and Jedd had a soup loaded with sausage and greens.
While he happily ate his soup, it dawned on me that a spicy sausage and broccoli rabe saute would make an excellent side-dish.
So when we got home, I made us blackened chicken and this feisty little side to accompany it. We were sad to have left the beach behind, but our cats were happy to see us and we have about 10 pounds of beautiful shells to remember Old Orchard by.
Spicy Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Chili Saute
1 head of broccoli rabe
3 hot sausage patties
½ of 1 large orange bell pepper, sliced
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ teaspoon of dried chili flakes
Bring a medium sauce pan of salted water to a boil. Wash and trim the broccoli rabe. Drop the broccoli rabe into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drop into ice water to stop it from continuing to cook. Drain.
Place the sausage into a large frying pan over medium heat and break the sausage into small pieces. Stir occasionally until browned and completely cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels.
At this point I wipe the pan out, because it’s too greasy for my taste to saute vegetables in sausage fat. But if you like the flavor, just keep enough fat to equal about a tablespoon. Or wipe the pan out, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the onion and peppers in the fat or oil, along with the chili flakes and salt and pepper. After about 5 minutes, add the broccoli rabe and the sausage. Stir frequently for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the peppers and onions are softened.
(Photos by Launie and Jedd Kettler)