Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pizza Quest - Italian Sausage

As my thousands of regular readers know, I'm working towards making some great pizza here. I've got a good crust, the cheese is good, and the sauce is good. Now, I'm onto the toppings.

I want Italian sausage and Canadian bacon. But, for Canadian bacon I need a whole pork loin and I haven't found one. I need to hit up a butcher when they're first cutting. Everyone here just sells tenderloin.

So, I went for the other half of my Favorite Pizza Toppings Ever ... Italian sausage. I remembered watching my favorite food scientist, Alton Brown, making some. There was no need in my mind to look any further.

His recipe called for chopped parsley. That sounded a little wimpy for my taste. So, I swapped in some oregano instead. I started with a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) to replace the parsley (1 tablespoon). Next time, I'll more it up more.

Ingredients
  • 1 kilogram ground pork
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Procedure

I toasted the fennel seeds in a frying pan until they got a little browned. The smell was amazing! Just keep them moving to avoid burning them.


Then, I tossed the fennel seed, salt, oregano, and black pepper into a small bowl and whisked them together to combine properly.


Finally, I poured the spice mixture onto the ground pork and mixed it all together by hand. Try to do this in a cool place. You can also refrigerate the bowl to help keep things cold. You don't want the fat in the pork to melt.

Should store for a few days in the fridge. I put mine in the freezer as I have some pepperoni curing that I want to use on pizza at the same time.

Test Results

Primary Test Group: Delicious! Marasa! Masarap!

Potential Improvements

Possibly a little more fennel seed or oregano. Not sure. Will have to try it.

Potential Variations

A spicy version!

Conclusions

Fantastic. And, can be even better.

3 comments:

n.o.e said...

NOTHING beats spicy Italian sausage, imo. It's my favorite thing to toss with pasta. I will look forward to your continued experimentation, as well as the results of the pepperoni and Canadian bacon ventures.
Nancy

James said...

Thanks, Nancy.

I'm having a lot of fun with experimentation. I'm at the point now where I can make a complete lasagna.

I have Italian sausage, ground beef, mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta, sauce, and pasta. All the ingredients I use. Of these, I make the Italian sausage, ricotta, sauce, and pasta.

Definitely a long ways from the way I used to cook ... get everything in a bag or a box.

Yvonne Shannon said...

I went through what you did with Italian sausage. Don’t know if you can get all of the seasonings there but this is the seasoning mix that I came up with after years of trial and error. Makes quite a bit so I keep it in the freezer.
Italian Sausage Seasoning: Grind together in a spice grinder: 2 T. fennel, 2 T. oregano, 3/4 T. red pepper flakes, 1 T. parsley flakes, 2 T. basil. Add: 1 T. whole fennel, 1 T. paprika, 2 T. granulated garlic, 2 T. sage, 1 1/2 T. salt, 1 T. black pepper. Use 1 1/2 T. per pound of meat (You can leave out the red pepper if you don’t want it hot.) This tastes just like the Italian sausage that I used to buy in an Italian butcher shop in Ballard.