Until about five years ago, I was never that excited about sandwiches. Then all of a sudden I started finding creative recipes for them all over the place, like this one that combines simple ingredients in a fresh new way: Grilled balsamic red onions and flavorful Italian sausages, juicy tomatoes, and peppery arugula served on lightly toasted ciabatta rolls. It’s a great weeknight meal and perfect for weekend entertaining.
The recipe calls for grilling the sausages and onions at high heat but I turned the grill down a bit so I didn’t burn anything.
I thought the ciabatta rolls were perfect for these sandwiches because they were sturdy (which you need for this recipe), and crusty on the outside without being too crusty. Costco and Fred Meyer sell bags of ciabatta rolls in the bakery section, and I’m sure many other large grocery stores carry them, too. You can also use sliced crusty Italian bread for this but it will get pretty crunchy once you grill it (great for crostini but harder to eat as a sandwich). Enjoy!
Grilled Sausage & Balsamic Onion Sandwich
-from Fine Cooking Magazine
Serves four as a main course.
1 large red onion, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch disks
5 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. good balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe tomato (about 8 oz.), thinly sliced
8 slices (about 1/2-inch thick each) crusty Italian bread or 4 ciabatta rolls
1 clove garlic, smashed
4 links sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 1 lb. total)
1 packed cup arugula, washed (if the leaves are large, stem them)
2 to 3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat a gas grill to high. Drizzle the onions with 1 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. vinegar and season well with salt and pepper. Toss gently to keep the disks intact. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 Tbs. oil. Brush 2 Tbs. of the oil over both sides of the bread, rub with the smashed garlic, and season with salt and pepper.
Put the sausages and onions on the hottest part of the grill. Grill the onions, turning them a few times, until they’re browned and have softened to a limp texture, about 8 minutes. Grill the sausages, turning occasionally, until fully cooked (160°F on an instant-read thermometer), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the sausages and let them rest. Grill the bread for 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Dress the arugula with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and 1 tsp. vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Arrange a small handful of the arugula and 1 or 2 slices of tomato over four of the bread slices. Slice the sausages in half lengthwise and lay them flat over the tomatoes. Lay a generous portion of the grilled onion rings and a sprinkling of Parmigiano over the sausages. Top with the remaining four slices of bread. Slice the sandwiches in half and serve.