When I lived in the North End of Boston, every summer weekend brought another feast honoring a favored saint. I counted on the vendors for my Friday night dinners. The grilled Italian Sausages with Onions and Peppers on a roll were just about my favorite choice. Ratatouille is one of my favorite summer foods. Every year I make a huuuuuge batch from the recipe I brought back from Nice many years ago. One unique thing about my recipe is that anchovies are substituted for any possible salt! This recipe fills several jars which I share with friends and (since it keeps so well) use to enhance many dishes; pasta, crostini, salads, and so forth. The first time I subbed Ratatouille for the peppers in the traditional sausage sandwich, my friends pronounced it a winner. I hope you like it, too! - ChefJune —ChefJune
Test Kitchen Notes
ChefJune’s eureka moment of inspiration makes for a great summer sandwich. (Just as tasty in the winter I’m sure, but not as easy to hose yourself down.) The ratatouille recipe is classic and easy to prepare (note: the ingredient list omits garlic but the instructions include it – I used about 8 cloves chopped.) I love the minimal oil content. The flavors are really clean. Personal preference might up the anchovies next time. The specified French baguette was a little too chewy for me, so I tried a country roll for my second one and that was perfect. I also halved the sausage which made it a little easier to eat. A whole lot of messy fun and delicious too! Brava! - deanna1001 —deanna1001
First you have to make the Ratatouille
extra-virgin olive oil
red onions, thinly sliced
garlic cloves peeled and chopped
large eggplants, peeled and cubed
green peppers seeded and cubed
sweet red peppers, seeded and cubed
ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
zucchini, well scrubbed
anchovy fillets, well drained and finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
capers, rinsed and well drained
Now, assemble your Sandwiches!
sweet Italian sausages
small French baguettes, cut in half
Ratatouille. This is a VERY messy sandwich!
Heat the oil in a 9-to 10-quart pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent. Meanwhile, peel and cube the eggplant. Using a vegetable peeler, peel stripes in the zucchini skins. Slice diagonally in large chunks.
Add the eggplant and green and red peppers to the pot, cover and cook slowly about 1 hour.
Add the tomatoes, squash and anchovies. Simmer uncovered over medium low heat until the mixture is thick. This may take a couple of hours. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add capers during the last fifteen (15) minutes of cooking. The mixture should cook until the vegetables seem to have melted together. Serve hot or cold.
Now, assemble your Sandwiches!
Poke the sausages with a fork on two sides, and simmer in about 2 inches of water for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain well. Just before ready to serve, heat a grill or a heavy cast iron skillet. Brown the sausages well on all sides.
Slice the baguettes in half, then in half lengthwise. Scoop out some of the bread on one side to make a cradle for the sausage. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on the bread. Place one grilled sausage in each half of the bread. Cover with warm ratatouille, and top with the rest of the bread. Messy, but delicious!
We like a red Pic St. Loup from the Languedoc with these sandwiches.