I have, over the years, conquered many personal demons, weaknesses, and unlovely personal habits that could be called guilty pleasures. But there’s one shameful compulsion I still haven’t been able to kick.
Every time they have one of those lame street fairs in New York, the same tired cast of vendors gets trotted out: the guys selling stale dried spices, the tube- sock people, Mr. Funnel Cake. I hate all of it—except the sausage and pepper guys. They traffic in not particularly good hot and sweet Italian sausage, held and served at temperatures that would probably be considered suboptimal by the New York State Department of Health, squashed on a dirty griddle, and then piled into a squishy hero roll with some browned onions and peppers, the whole thing a greasy, soggy, unmanageable mess that generally falls apart in my hands before I can eat it. And within an hour of consumption, I’m shitting like a mink.
I know this from the first whiff, yet I am helpless to resist. Knowing full well the inevitable intestinal upheaval that will result, I sleepwalk, zombie-like, to my fate, willingly, happily, toward nasty deliciousness.
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Prepared in the presumably more hygienic confines of your kitchen, this recipe will hopefully spare you the terrible personal cost of having to score on the street.
Sausage and Pepper Hero
4 sweet Italian sausage links
4 hot Italian sausage links
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 Italian hero rolls, sliced
Heat a large griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over high heat, then add the sausages, working in batches if necessary. Cook until browned on all sides and slightly bursting from their casings, then remove with tongs to a large plate or sheet pan.
Add the oil to the griddle or skillet, let it get hot, then add the bell peppers and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook until seared, soft and nicely browned at the edges, about 10 minutes, turning frequently with a spatula and pressing down as necessary.
While the vegetables are cooking, cut the sausages into 1-inch pieces. Once the vegetables are done, set them aside with the sausages and briefly warm the open rolls on the hot greasy griddle or skillet. Load the peppers, onions, and sausage chunks into the rolls, making sure to get an even distribution of sweet and hot pieces, and serve immediately.
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Recipes and images taken from Appetites by Anthony Bourdain.