Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Supper: Open-Faced Banger Sandwiches with Grilled Onions, Garlic Scapes and Asparagus

That piece of poetry above is the best meal I've had at home this summer. Honestly, I don't remember outdoing it last year so I'm declaring an early victor- this is the bar against which all other summer meals will now be measured.

Maybe I should back up a moment and tell you what you're looking at. This is especially important to me because I'm pretty proud of the "where" associated with "what."

The meat of the dish was really the heart of it. On a slow stroll through the first Wicker Park Farmers Market of the season, there was a lovely English gent sampling Spencers "jolly posh British and Irish foods." Being a bit of a sucker for all things across the pond, I indulged a bite of the pork and herb banger and settled on purchasing a pack immediately.

I typically do a lap around the market before buying anything so the seconds-long exchange between my taste buds and pocketbook (and the resultant decision to snap these up) is a testament to purely stated mouthbliss. For those of you confused and/or giggling, a banger is a particular kind of pork sausage prone to splitting during cooking, the UK's version of a hot dog. Other market pick-ups included 5 pounds of ground beef from Robinson (we had beautiful burgers on Sunday), a shallot, an onion, radishes galore, baby lettuce, pretty purple scallions and some obscenely expensive tomatoes. I really cannot wait until I can pluck them from my own garden.

A few days later, I picked up the first of the CSA shares I'm splitting with Homemaker's Habitat this summer. Harvest Moon has started a pick-up right in front of our office and the whole transaction could not have been any easier. You should have seen the beaming happening in the elevator as I went back up to my office, clutching all of our fresh treasures. Among those treasures were a pound of fresh asparagus and three long and lanky garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the flower stems that garlic plants produce before the bulbs mature- if you harvest them, the bulbs themselves tend to grow larger. The scapes are delicious- a cross between garlic and a scallion- and this was my first time cooking with them.

I also found a baguette in the freezer. Frozen bread is the gift we can give our future selves. It defrosted in seconds, was sliced and spread evenly with olive oil then massaged vigorously with a cut garlic clove. Then grilled alongside the rest. *swoon*

The compilation process was no less beautiful. The onion was sliced into rings and tossed with olive oil and one dice garlic scape before being set on the grill atop doubled up foil. Asparagus went for the same olive oil/salt and pepper treatment before being laid into its own foil nest. Later in the process the bangers were added atop the onions to distill some additional love on the layers. Just looking at that spread on the grill made me so happy.

For the sandwiches, we started with the bread then butterflied bangers atop each half. Onions were then liberally spooned over the meat before being kissed with sloppy enthusiasm by Dijon mustard. The finishing touch was a half of a purple scallion which had been grilled with the asparagus. The spears were gathered into the middle, so long that they couldn't quite be contained by the plate.

Salty sausages filled with herbs and caramelized on the outside. Bread that was toasted with blackened edges but kept a soft center. Sweet and garlicky onions and that blackened scallion on top...all tied together with a vinegary bite of mustard in the middle.

Please try this at home. Then tell me about it so I can relive it myself.


kat said...

I wait all year for garlic scapes and currently have a pound of them (minus the quartet that sacrificed their lives for a white bean/scape dip last night) in my fridge... and now I know that they were meant to give themselves over to the service of banger sandwiches. We are sadly grill-less here in Brooklyn, but I think a saucepan and the proper spirit will make up for it.

Oh, and happy birthday.

Rachel said...

oh dear lawd.
I'm salivating.


maren said...

I'm not even hungry right now and I feel like eating. :) Looks DELICIOUS!

Kelly said...

Yum. That looks fantastic. Thanks for the comment on my blog. It sounds like we also have similar farmers' market strategies. I'm all about doing a good loop first before commiting to anything.

I'd definitely be game for a farmers' market adventure together and am around this weekend. I believe me posting this should link to my email so send me an email and we can make a date. I'm also game for checking out others in the city. My goal is to make it to all of them before the summer is through. :-)

Amanda said...

Also, your blue plates? I love them.

TKTC said...

Kat- You are way ahead of me in the department of scapes. That dip sounds fantastic and you're right- a saucepan will do the trick.

Oh, and thanks:)

Rachel- It was totally mouthwatering.

Maren- Thanks lady!

Kelly- So excited, will shoot you an email per potential market adventures! said...

You have so many wonderful flavors and textures in this open face sandwich. I love those purple/green onions. The split sausage is such a treat in itself! xo

Anonymous said...

That looks amazing (and fancy schmancy)!

Chelsea Talks Smack said...


Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site
Is this possible?

Anonymous said...

I know that it has been a year since you posted "Summer Supper: Open-Faced Banger Sandwiches with Grilled Onions, Garlic Scapes and Asparagus", but I just found your post because I was looking for a recipe for garlic scapes. I am growing garlic for the first time and I have 120 beautiful scapes.

Going to the garden right now and pick some scapes along with some fresh green onions. Also have some asparagus from my mother's garden. Going to try your recipe which looks wonderful!