- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Those scrawny little sausages that fill the breakfast plate have sophisticated cousins. You may have noticed these plump sausages in your supermarket deli or packaged-meat department.

Unlike traditional cooked sausage meat that usually starts with pork or beef or both, the gourmet versions use beef, pork, chicken or turkey. You even may find venison-based sausage in some markets.

The flavoring ingredients are what make these sausages distinctive. Fruits, vegetables, cheese, spices and herbs turn an ordinary sausage into a flavor treat.

Flavor isn’t all they deliver. Gourmet sausages have two great advantages for smaller households:

• You can prepare one or two sausages from a package and keep the remainder refrigerated for a few days.



• You can use the sausage as the base for a savory and hearty dinner that goes from start to finish in 15 minutes or less. This is a great boon when you’re crushed for time.

The question may not be how to add sausages to your menus but how to choose from all the tempting varieties. My preference is to match fruit-based sausages with like ingredients, such as fruit. I also use sausages that call for sweet spices such as cinnamon, curry powder, ginger or allspice when I want a mild flavor. I opt for highly spiced and hot sausages when I want a predominant flavor to stand out — when I’m making an egg or cheese dish, for example.

Sausage, arugula and eggs

2 3-ounce cooked turkey-based andouille sausage links

1 cup coarsely chopped arugula

1 tablespoon butter

2 eggs

1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream

Pepper

Slice sausage links 1/4-inch thick. Brown over medium heat in nonstick skillet for 1 to 2 minutes, turning over halfway through.

Add arugula and cook for 30 seconds or until limp. Add butter and melt in.Beat eggs in a bowl. Stir in cheese and half-and-half or cream. Pour into skillet over sausage and arugula. Let set for 15 seconds, then gently scramble until eggs are set, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Sausage, apple and cabbage skillet dinner

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium apple, unpeeled and thinly sliced (see note)

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

1 cup coarsely shredded cabbage

2 3-ounce apple- and cranberry-flavored cooked sausage links

1 teaspoon honey mustard

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in medium skillet. Add apple, shallot and cabbage, and saute over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until apple slices are tender.

Slice sausages 1/4-inch thick. Add sausage to skillet and brown over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, turning over halfway through. Stir in honey mustard, salt and pepper. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Choose a sweet apple, such as Fuji, Golden Delicious or Gala, for this dish.

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