SAUSAGE, SPINACH AND WHITE BEANS

 THERE'S A LOT OF GREAT SAUSAGE IN L.A. -- AT McCALL'S, WHOLE FOODS, STANDING BUTCHER, AND PEADS & BARNETTS, THE NE PLUS ULTRA OF PORK PRODUCERS, WHOSE GRANDPARENTS BRED PIGS IN OXFORD, ENGLAND.  THEY NOW HAVE THEIR OWN STOREFRONT IN SANTA MONICA, BUT  LUCKY FOR ME, THEY'RE AT THE HOLLYWOOD FARMERS' MARKET EVERY SUNDAY WITH EVERY TYPE OF SAUSAGE FROM BRATWURST TO LINGUICA.  I KEEP BOTH SPICEY AND MILD IN MY FREEZER.  FOR THIS OCCASION, I THAWED OUT TWO FENNEL SAUSAGES, SCORED AND PAN-GRILLED THEM, USING THE RENDERED FAT TO SAUTÉ SPINACH.  THIS WAS A LAST-MINUTE MEAL, SO I ADMIT FREELY TO HEATING UP A CAN (YES, A CAN) OF CANNELLINI BEANS, WHICH I DOCTORED UP WITH SLICES OF GARLIC AND FRIED SAGE LEAVES.  THE IDEAL WINE FOR THIS DISH IS A SPATLESE RIESLING AND I JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE ONE ON HAND.  

 2 SAUSAGES
 1 BUNCH OF SPINACH
 FRESH GINGER
 6 SAGE LEAVES
 1 CAN OF CANNELLINI BEANS
 FLAT LEAF PARSLEY
1

TRIM ROOTS AND DEAD STEMS FROM THE SPINACH AND DUMP INTO A SINK FULL OF WATER. SWIRL THE SPINACH IN THE WATER, THEN LET IT FLOAT FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES TO ALLOW ANY GRIT TO SETTLE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SINK.

REMOVE SPINACH, SPIN DRY IN A LETTUCE DRYER, ROLL GENTLY IN A DISH TOWEL AND SET ASIDE.

SCORE THE SKIN ON THE SAUSAGES CROSSWISE. THIS WILL HELP REND THE FAT WHEN THEY'RE COOKING AND PREVENT THEM FROM CURLING UP.

HEAT A CAST IRON PAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT FOR 3 MINUTES, THEN LAY THE SAUSAGES IN THE PAN. COOK FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES UNTIL THE SKIN IS NICELY CRISPED AND INVITINGLY BROWNED.

MEANWHILE, HEAT 1/4 CUT OF OLIVE OIL IN A FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT. WHEN THE OIL RIPPLES SCATTER THE SAGE LEAVES IN THE OIL. THEY WILL TAKE LESS THAN A MINUTE TO BROWN. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY AND LAY ON PAPER TOWELS.

PEEL A THUMB'S WORTH OF FRESH GARLIC AND CUT INTO SMALL BATONS.

TRIM AND PEEL 6 GARLIC CLOVES. SLICE THINLY. USING THE SAME PAN, SAME OLIVE OIL, COOK THE GARLIC SLICES OVER A LOW FLAME TILL YOU CAN JUST SMELL THEIR SCENT. EMPTY THE CAN OF CANNELLINI BEANS INTO THE PAN AND STIR TO BLEND WITH THE GARLIC. COOK ON A LOW FLAME, ALLOWING THE BEAN LIQUID TO REDUCE TO A SYRUPY CONSISTENCY.

SCATTER SAGE LEAVES ON TOP OF THE BEANS. LAY THE BROWNED SAUSAGES ON TOP OF THE BEANS.

RAISE THE HEAT IN THE PAN WHERE YOU COOKED THE SAUSAGES AND START ADDING THE SPINACH. IT MAY NOT ALL FIT AT ONCE, BUT IT WILL IMMEDIATELY START TO COLLAPSE, MAKING ROOM FOR MORE. TOSS IN THE GINGER. SEASON LIGHTLY WITH SALT AND FRESH PEPPER.

ARRANGE THE SAUSAGES, BEANS AND SPINACH ON SEPARATE PLATES. GARNISH WITH PARSLEY LEAVES AND SERVE.

SERVES 2

Ingredients

 2 SAUSAGES
 1 BUNCH OF SPINACH
 FRESH GINGER
 6 SAGE LEAVES
 1 CAN OF CANNELLINI BEANS
 FLAT LEAF PARSLEY

Directions

1

TRIM ROOTS AND DEAD STEMS FROM THE SPINACH AND DUMP INTO A SINK FULL OF WATER. SWIRL THE SPINACH IN THE WATER, THEN LET IT FLOAT FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES TO ALLOW ANY GRIT TO SETTLE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SINK.

REMOVE SPINACH, SPIN DRY IN A LETTUCE DRYER, ROLL GENTLY IN A DISH TOWEL AND SET ASIDE.

SCORE THE SKIN ON THE SAUSAGES CROSSWISE. THIS WILL HELP REND THE FAT WHEN THEY'RE COOKING AND PREVENT THEM FROM CURLING UP.

HEAT A CAST IRON PAN OVER MEDIUM HEAT FOR 3 MINUTES, THEN LAY THE SAUSAGES IN THE PAN. COOK FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTES UNTIL THE SKIN IS NICELY CRISPED AND INVITINGLY BROWNED.

MEANWHILE, HEAT 1/4 CUT OF OLIVE OIL IN A FRYING PAN OVER HIGH HEAT. WHEN THE OIL RIPPLES SCATTER THE SAGE LEAVES IN THE OIL. THEY WILL TAKE LESS THAN A MINUTE TO BROWN. REMOVE IMMEDIATELY AND LAY ON PAPER TOWELS.

PEEL A THUMB'S WORTH OF FRESH GARLIC AND CUT INTO SMALL BATONS.

TRIM AND PEEL 6 GARLIC CLOVES. SLICE THINLY. USING THE SAME PAN, SAME OLIVE OIL, COOK THE GARLIC SLICES OVER A LOW FLAME TILL YOU CAN JUST SMELL THEIR SCENT. EMPTY THE CAN OF CANNELLINI BEANS INTO THE PAN AND STIR TO BLEND WITH THE GARLIC. COOK ON A LOW FLAME, ALLOWING THE BEAN LIQUID TO REDUCE TO A SYRUPY CONSISTENCY.

SCATTER SAGE LEAVES ON TOP OF THE BEANS. LAY THE BROWNED SAUSAGES ON TOP OF THE BEANS.

RAISE THE HEAT IN THE PAN WHERE YOU COOKED THE SAUSAGES AND START ADDING THE SPINACH. IT MAY NOT ALL FIT AT ONCE, BUT IT WILL IMMEDIATELY START TO COLLAPSE, MAKING ROOM FOR MORE. TOSS IN THE GINGER. SEASON LIGHTLY WITH SALT AND FRESH PEPPER.

ARRANGE THE SAUSAGES, BEANS AND SPINACH ON SEPARATE PLATES. GARNISH WITH PARSLEY LEAVES AND SERVE.

SERVES 2

SAUSAGE, SPINACH AND WHITE BEANS
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