- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2007

When I became a young cook, nothing pleased me more than firing up a simple barbecue dinner for my dad. He loved knackwurst and veal sausages, so I would grill up a variety of sausages.

Today, you can purchase delicious sausages that are uncooked or precooked, which will vary the cooking times. It is important to make sure that all sausages are cooked thoroughly. You can check this by slicing into them and making sure that there is no pinkness remaining and that the juices run clear.

I particularly like grilled veal and pork bratwursts for their juicy, rich flavor. Many chicken and turkey sausages are also readily available today.

We are lucky that the sausage revolution has come to America. Most of these packaged creative sausage combinations are precooked, making it a snap to barbecue and serve.

You can find just about any flavor-pairing you can imagine. Think artichoke and garlic, chicken and apple, habanero and green chilies, sun-dried tomato, roasted pepper with corn or chicken pomegranate. The choices abound.

Two California sausage makers now sell their products nationwide. Both Jody Maroni (www.jodymaroni.com) and Bruce Aidells (www.aidells.com) provide precooked sausages that are worth seeking out for their excellent taste and intriguing flavor combinations.

Grilled sausages deserve an array of condiments served on the side. Set out bowls of sweet and hot mustard, chili sauce, Dijon mustard, pickle relish, warm sauerkraut and, of course, my onion marmalade. Its sweet and tart flavor enhances any grilled sausage.

To complete the meal, I like to serve a variety of salads, including potato salad. If fresh corn is available, throw some husked ears on the barbecue, too.

Offer some crusty bread or hot dog buns to go along with the sausages and marmalade. Make sure to have some ice-cold beers on hand. Dad will be as pleased as he can be on his special day.

Help is on the way: Make a double batch of the marmalade and use it as a condiment for scrambled eggs or grilled steak.

I also love combining it with cheese for an exceptional grilled cheese sandwich or grilled quesadilla. It is also excellent smeared on a grilled French baguette and topped with soft goat cheese.

Grilled bratwurst with onion marmalade

MARMALADE:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium leeks, cleaned, white part only, finely chopped

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