Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gordon Ramsay's Fusilli Salad with Merguez & Olives

Another recipe from the section entitled "Working Lunches." Frankly, I wasn't impressed.

Fusilli noodles, sundried tomatoes, olives (I used canned black olives -- my favorite because of their non-saltiness, and because of their ease of use -- Ramsay did not specify what kind of olives he recommended for this dish), olive oil, parsley, chives, basil, and sausage. Ramsay says to use Merguez sausages. Sorry, but Giant Eagle just doesn't carry anything like that. I did some internet research and found that Merguez sausages are "full bodied" and that chorizo would make a good substitution. Eh. I guess I should have looked harder for the Merguez; maybe I should have spent a Saturday down at the West Side Market and talked to people who know their sausages.

I noticed as I was browning the sausage that my chorizo didn't hold its shape like the picture of the Merguez, which resembled a smoked sausage, rather than a fresh meat sausage. Nonetheless, it did smell wonderful as it sizzled.

Add the chopped sundried tomatoes and sliced olives, saute.

Toss with the cooked fusilli, olive oil and fresh chopped herbs.

It looks great. It had great potential. Way too friggin' spicy. I've had chorizo from this provider before and it was wonderful. Spiced without being blazing hot. This was all heat. I could barely eat the dish. And everything the sausage touched became tainted by the spice. Even the noodles were nearly inedible. I made peanut butter and jelly for the boys to eat. I was only able to eat about half a serving - with a full glass of ice water, before I called it quits.

The dish, though, did meet the time requirements. From the beginning of the prep until it hit the table, it took 40 minutes. Not exactly a "quick" dish, but it was easy.

This dish reminded, me, except for the sausage part of it, of a dish that I make on a pretty regular basis.

hot cooked fettuccini, or pasta of choice
sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water and chopped
large can of sliced black olives
crumbled feta cheese
olive oil
red pepper flakes
fresh chopped herbs (basil, chives, oregano, etc.)

Heat olive oil in pan. Saute garlic and red pepper flakes. Combine all ingredients in bowl and add hot oil. Mix and serve. It is wonderful hot or cold. It can be dressed up. When in a pinch, I sometimes just use a bottle of greek salad dressing for the sauce. Leftover chicken pieces can be tossed in, too. It's one of those recipes that let's you play. It can be different every time you make it.

So, Ramsay's recipe? Frankly, I think my version is better and more satisfying. If it wasn't for the spicy oil from the chorizo, I don't think the recipe would have had much flavor at all.

"Fusilli Salad with Merguez & Olives ... Done."

Pin It!

No comments: