While in Chicago, Bourdain shared a meal with Chef Stephanie Izard and her colleague, Chef Peter Wong. They talked about Izard and Wong’s trip to China and how much they loved Sichuan cuisine. This recipe comes from Izard’s new book, Gather & Graze: 120 Favorite Recipes for Tasty Good Times which hits shelves on April 3, 2018.
Before opening Duck Duck Goat, Gary and I headed to China for two weeks in search of inspiration. The highlight for us was the Sichuan province, known for its crazy bold flavors, where we ate just about every noodle and dumpling that crossed our path. I particularly love Sichuan peppercorns, which are like fun little spice bombs—but instead of packing a ton of heat, they make your mouth go all tingly and numb. That’s what inspired this spicy sausage blend, which we usually make with goat meat, but it’s just as good with pork. Yes, you can buy a spicy Italian sausage from the store, but I strongly urge you to consider making your own instead. It’s super-easy to do (not scary) and you can use the leftovers to make a round of “This Little Piggy Went to China” breakfast sandwiches.
(Makes 24 skewers)
1¼ pounds 80% lean ground goat or pork
1 tablespoon minced shallot
½ tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, preferably Korean, or to taste
¾ teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
3 tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
Canola oil (optional)
Minty Yogurt (recipe follows)
Szechuan Chile Sauce (recipe follows)
Fresh mint, to garnish Szechuan sausage
Minty yogurt sauce:
(Makes 2 cups)
2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Whisk together all the ingredients and store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Every morning we were in Chengdu, we’d go to this little place next to the hotel for breakfast. And every morning, we’d have pork dumplings that had nothing but chili sauce on them. It was the simplest thing ever, but so good. This is my take on that amazing sauce, a mix of chili oil, malt vinegar, fish sauce, sesame oil, and Sichuan peppercorns; it has a savory, just-right-amount-of-spicy quality that’s really addicting. Okay, so they don’t use fish sauce in China, but I think everything tastes better with fish sauce!
This sauce shows up three times in this book—straight up with these skewers, slightly sweetened with maple syrup for a breakfast sandwich, and with a cool twist of blueberry jam for grilled salmon. All the more reason to make a batch to keep in your fridge and use it on anything and everything.
(Makes 2 cups)
⅓ cup broad bean paste, found in Asian markets or online
⅓ cup fish sauce
¾ cup malt vinegar
¼ cup toasted sesame oil
¼ cup chile oil
3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon ground Sichuan peppercorns
Whisk together all the ingredients. The sauce will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to 1 week.
In a food processor, combine the meat, shallot, garlic, ginger, salt, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns. Pulse until well combined. Turn the machine on and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of ice water and the rice wine until well mixed and the meat is emulsified. Transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before cooking.
Soak 24 bamboo skewers in cold water for 1 hour to help prevent scorching.
Scoop the cold sausage into 24 portions. Form each into a 2-inchlong cylinder around the tip of a drained bamboo skewer. Return to the fridge for at least 1 hour before cooking. The sausage will hold its shape and grill up better if chilled.
Heat a grill to medium-high heat.
Arrange the sausage skewers around the outside of the grill, so the sticks are over the edge and do not burn. (If the grill grates are hot enough, the cooked meat will release cleanly without the need for oil; otherwise, lightly brush the grates with canola oil before placing the skewers on them.) Allow the meat to cook thoroughly before you attempt to move it; otherwise it will stick.
Sear the first side for at least 6 minutes, then turn and cook again for 6 to 7 more minutes, until both sides have a dark crust.
To serve, schmear a thick strip of mint yogurt sauce down one side of a platter. Put the meat end of each skewer in the yogurt. Drizzle with the chile sauce, and garnish with the mint.
Reprinted from Gather & Graze: 120 Favorite Recipes for Tasty Good Times. Copyright © 2018 by Stephanie Izard, Inc. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Galdones Photography. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.