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Jun 1, 2018 1:13 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Wursts Are The Best To Throw Together A Meal On The Fly

Wurst plated with condiments. JANEEN SARLIN
Jun 3, 2018 4:31 PM

When unexpected guests arrived last weekend, I pulled together a “pop-up” dinner in a hurry. You ask, what did you cook? Because the guests would arrive in little less than an hour and they were carnivores, I scurried out to pick up an assortment of wursts (bratwurst, andouille sausage, knackwurst, and chicken sausage) and a loaf of crusty rye bread from nearby Schaller and Weber—a butcher shop that is famous for German specialties. I decided to create the rest of the meal with whatever I had in my cupboard and refrigerator: Canned black beans from the cupboard and avocado, tomatoes and limes on the counter, plus the scallions, celery and herbs that were in the refrigerator. I tossed together a hearty salad to serve with the wursts and bread.

Sauerkraut, pickles, pickle relish and pickled ginger, garlic confit, balsamic glaze, ketchup, fruits, nuts, mushrooms and vegetables plus an assortment of mustards are in my refrigerator, so on a moment’s notice I can get creative with condiments to accompany almost any entrée.

Once the “wursts” and the mushrooms were grilled, I cut them into bite-sized pieces before arranging them on a bed of baby spinach.

For dessert, I served fresh strawberries and blackberries topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Then I remember a stash of chocolate shortbread cookies in the freezer! We ate them with espresso for the finale

Dinner was easy, delicious and fun filled for everyone. I added the chocolate shortbread recipe as a bonus so you, too, can keep a stash of them in your freezer for a pop-up dinner party this summer. Bon appétit!

Grilled Assorted Wursts
(Serves 4)

Bratwurst, knackwurst, andouille and chicken sausages (count 1 1/2 to 2 per person)
8 ounces mushroom caps, washed and patted dry
About 6 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
About 1/2 cup ketchup
About 2 cups sauerkraut
About 1 cup pickle relish
About 1/2 cup grainy mustard

To prepare:

Preheat the grill to high.

With a sharp knife, make diagonal 1-inch slits through the casings on two sides of the wursts and arrange them on the hot grill. Cook until dark grill marks appear, about four minutes, rotate, and continue grilling until all the sides have dark brown marks and the wursts are hot, about eight to 10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board. Keep warm.

While the wursts are cooking, arrange the mushroom caps, top side down on the grill and cook without moving until grill marks appear, about four minutes. Rotate the mushrooms about one-quarter turn and grill two minutes longer. Turn mushrooms over and cook the undersides until they are tender, about eight minutes in total. Cooking time depends on the size of the mushrooms. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into quarters.

Slice the wursts into bite-sized lengths and arrange wursts and mushrooms on a bed of spinach. Serve with ketchup, sauerkraut, pickle relish and grainy mustard. Be creative.

Black Bean, Avocado, Scallion, Celery, Herb And Tomato Salad
(Serves 4)

1, 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch scallions, roots removed, greens trimmed, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, cut into small dice
About 1/3 to 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup dill leaves, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large ripe but firm avocado, cut into small dice
2 limes, juice squeezed
1 vine-ripened tomato, seeded and cut into dice
About 1/3 cup unsweetened organic coconut flakes, toasted

To prepare:

Transfer beans to a strainer, rinse under cold running water and drain while preparing remaining ingredients.

In a mixing bowl, toss scallions, celery, parsley and dill together.

Add beans, salt and pepper, a few drops of olive oil and mix well.

Add avocado and tomatoes and gently toss the salad together with remainder of the lime juice, taste, and adjust the amount of oil and seasonings.

Can be done ahead, cover and refrigerate.

Bring to room temperature before serving.

Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.

Chocolate Shortbreads
(About 3 dozen)

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup regular sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon instant coffee (dry)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch chili powder—optional
1/2 cup pure unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

To prepare:

Working in the food processor with the stainless steel blade, process the butter until fluffy, add sugars and salt, process until blended.

Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, instant coffee, black pepper and chili powder and process until mixed. Add cocoa powder and flour and process until well mixed.

Transfer the dough to a gallon zip-lock bag. With the rolling pin, press the dough out into an even thickness until the dough fills the entire bag. Zip it closed, transfer to a flat baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or up to four days in the refrigerator.

To bake:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

With a cookie cutter, cut out desired shapes, transfer the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

With a table fork, prick the cookies all the way through, in two or three places.

Refrigerate the entire baking sheet until the cookies are firm, then place them in the oven and bake until they are no longer shiny in the center and slightly resist when pressed with a finger, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack and cool completely before storing in airtight containers. Shortbreads freeze well.

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