It’s stinkin’ hot outside. Literally stinkin’. Everything smells like baked dirt and hot asphalt. This is not the kind of weather that inspires me to spend any amount of time over a hot stove (except for that regrettable risotto incident). This here is sandwich weather!
I’ve been looking for an excuse to whip up an aioli all summer. The bratwurst in my freezer was going to provide one for me. I would have liked to have used some of the fresh herbs from my garden for the aioli, but my dill, parsley and cilantro have already bolted and gone to seed in this early heat, and I have been frantically pinching buds off my basil for a week.
I scored some jars (six; I couldn’t help myself) of roasted red peppers at the grocery store on clearance and I thought that a garlicky-smokey-peppery aioli would be just what the brats needed to wake ’em up a bit. My family is not really fond of bell peppers of any kind, but I still hold out hope that someday I’ll be able to convince them that they are oh so wrong, and I have been right all along (like I always am, of course). Mushrooms are also on the family no-way-am-I-eating-that list; breaks my heart it does. Sometimes I find myself alone in my kitchen at night with nothing but a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and a box of tissues for company, while thoughts of Philly cheese steak sandwiches dance in my head. *sniff*
But I digress.
The last 3 items to round out the cast of characters were a handfull of baby romaine lettuce, a long loaf of still-warm French bread, and some long shaved slices of parmesan cheese. All that was left to do was grill, assemble, and call it dinner.
Ah the grill. You really can’t beat that smoky charred, sweet caramelized flavor that food acquires when you cook it on the grill. But I have a love/hate relationship with my grill. It lives outside on the back patio with my herb pots, where it is not directly in my line of sight. Out of sight, out of mind; therein lies the problem. My multitasking cooking habits make it physically impossible for me to hover over the grill and watch while it takes its sweet time cooking something. I usually give up and end up back in the kitchen, prepping a salad or making pasta. I’ve discovered it cooks stuff REAL fast when I’m not looking . It’s evil that way. So usually I let (beg) my husband do the grilling. Except he wasn’t home yet, so I had to. Which was scary. But I’m happy to report that the brats survived my “oh poop (or a similar word) I forgot I have brats on the grill” moments and dinner was eventually served.
No, I didn’t take any photo’s of stuff on the grill because I forgot. I’m sorry. I’ll be better next time.
Bratwich with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
1 long loaf of French bread
4 or 5 links of your bratwurst of choice
1 cup salad greens such as baby romaine, romaine, bibb or butter lettuce
¼ cup aioli (recipe below)
4 or 5 thinly shave slices of parmesan cheese
Preheat the grill to medium high. Grill the sausages with the lid closed for 20-25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Let cool slightly (5-10 minutes).
Slice the French bread in half lengthwise and remove some of the bread from the inside of both the top and bottom slice. Slather each slice with about 2 tbsp aioli. Layer the lettuce on the bottom slice and top with the brats. Place the slices of parmesan cheese over the still-warm brats and cover with the top slice of bread. Cut the sandwich on the diagonal into approximately 3 inch pieces and serve with your favorite ice-cold beer.
Roasted Red Pepper Aioli
1 egg yolk
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ of a roasted red pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt (and to taste)
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup olive oil
Make sure all of the ingredients come to room temperature before you start. In a blender, combine the egg yolk, garlic, red pepper, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and blend until smooth. Take off the blender cover, and with it still running slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream and blend until everything is smooth and combined. Make sure you stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula. Taste and adjust for seasoning.