Yesterday I hosted Easter Dinner for my family, and I did a lot of cooking. Fertile territory for the blog! You’ll be seeing lots of posts over the next little while stemming from this meal. I made ham, mashed potatoes, three vegetable side dishes (beans, beets and carrots), and for dessert there were many choices – hazelnut tea cookies, chocolate cherry cupcakes, meringues and peanut butter-chocolate “Easter Eggs.” Plus my mother brought a cherry pie. No lack of choice!
But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning with the easy appetizer, a sausage and relish bite on a baguette. I don’t usually try the tidbits on offer at sample booths at grocery stores, but last week when we were at the market Brent brought me one of these. One bite and I knew I was going to make these for my guests to nibble on before Easter dinner. They’re so easy to make, I can’t really call it a recipe. Here’s how I made them.
Cook mild Italian sausages in the usual way. Once they’ve cooled down, cut into 1/4-inch slices. Cut a baguette into thin slices. I prefer multigrain, but pickings were slim given the throng of holiday shoppers and I could only find white bread baguettes. Place a slice of sausage on top of the bread, and top with a dollop of homemade-style garden relish. Voila, appetizer assembled!
These are really tasty. The tangy sweetness of the relish contrasts nicely with the mild spiciness of the sausage, and the bread makes a perfect base. In retrospect, I think these might be even better if the bread slices were brushed with olive oil and toasted first. I’ll have to try that next time!
I bought my market’s store-brand garden relish (proving that marketing strategies really work), and it reminds me of the relish / chili sauce my Mom used to make when I was a kid. To give you an idea of the taste, the relish ingredients are cucumber, cauliflower, celery, onions, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch and spices. There are also some red bits in it that I think are red pepper, although not listed on the label. It’s tangy, sweet and mild in flavour, with more complexity then brand-name manufactured relishes I’ve tried.
I don’t always make an appetizer, but I’m really glad I had these on hand. A lesson from yesterday’s meal is that I will never again trust a recipe that tells me I can heat a 9-pound ham in two hours at 250º. As a result of that learning experience dinner was later than expected, so these tasty bites helped keep the masses under control during the wait!