Ah, the summer is here. Picnic and party time. Also hot as you know what. That incredible laziness sets in before you even open your eyes in the morning. Cooking sessions become shorter, farther apart, and I don’t know about you, but my creativity in this heat all boils down (ha ha, no pun intended, but totally fitting) to whether to sprinkle fresh herbs on top of my plate of boring dinner or not.
So while I am in the lazy mode, might as well take advantage and put together a few incredibly simple and energy efficient (read, good for lazies) numbers, where labor-to-spectacularity ratio is extremely favorable.
Here is one — sausage bites. I know everyone knows sausage rolls, and these bites are a cute spin on those. I added sautéed shallots and garlic, a few dry herbs, dill and pine nuts. You may choose to forego the whole fancyshmanciness, and go straight for the meat-and-dough — it really depends on how lazy you feel today. The question is, can you afford not to make these? As soon as you put them on the table, they go like mad.
Today I was in serious danger of not making it to the table at all — my party members attacked the basket filled with freshly baked bites as soon as I walked in the door with it, all this, mind you, after 20 minutes of warding off my husband, who, in his incredible thoroughness, felt compelled to test more than a few on the way to the party. Oh, the suffering I endure for good food sometimes…
Sausage Bites With Pine Nuts
Adapted from The Complete Book of Party Food and Appetizers by Bridget Jones.
Yields about 4 dozen bites.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion or 3 medium shallots, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 package (14 oz) mild or hot Italian sausage
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- 1 tsp dry basil
- 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped dill
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed according to instructions
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan (optional)
- 1 egg for glazing, whisked with a small pinch of salt and 1 tbsp water until smooth
- sesame seeds, caraway seeds, dill seeds, fennel seeds for decorating
- In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat
- Add minced garlic and onion, and saute for 5-6 minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Let cool until manageable
- Mix sausage, onion+garlic, thyme, basil, fresh dill, salt and pine nuts in a bowl, until uniform and smooth.
- Roll out the puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface into 4 strips 3 inches wide and about 12 inches long.
- Arrange sausage stuffing into a 1″ inch roll in the middle of the strip, taking care to reach all the way to the edge on short end of the strip.
- Sprinkle a portion of parmesan on top of the sausage stuffing
- Spread some egg wash along one of the long edges of the dough.
- Carefully fold the dough over the sausage stuffing, closing the seem.
- Roll the sausage filled dough pipe on the board a little bit to ensure uniform thickness and to seal the seam.
- Proceed with the remaining dough and stuffing.
- When all pipes are ready, spread the egg wash all over them, and sprinkle the seeds of your choosing on top.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Cut each pipe into 12 1″ bites.
- Arrange the bites on a baking sheet 1″ apart.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve warm
Make ahead: you can prep the sausage bites up to step 10, and freeze until needed. Thaw them for about 1 hour before proceeding with the remaining steps.