With the 4th of July only a few days a way, I had the pleasure of speaking with newest Iron Chef and Macy's Culinary Council's, Marc Forgione, on planning a delicious Independence Day meal for your party. If you love sausage and pepper sandwiches, you'll love his new twist to this classic dish and many more great tips on making your celebration as mouthwatering as possible!
Candace Rose: What's your number one tip for throwing a great cookout this 4th of July?
Marc Forgione: "My number one tip is to make sure that you're with good friends, having some good drinks, some good food and of course checking out the Macy's 4th of July fireworks."
CR: Can you tell us more about the celebration on the 4th?
MF: "Well, if you didn't know, now you know Macy's throws the biggest party of the year with definitely the best fireworks that you can catch live or on tv, you just have to check your local listings."
CR: What are you cooking for us today?
MF: "Today I'm going to show you a cool spin on the classic sausage and pepper sandwich that you see all over the place, especially when you're having backyards, at a ballgame or something. I'm actually going to kind of walk you through how to make a sausage and peppers from scratch.
So, what you're going to do is you're going to start with some fresh pork belly, which for those of you who aren't familiar with it, fresh pork belly is literally just raw bacon or fresh bacon. I guess sometimes it sounds a little more appetizing than pork belly. So, you take it and you get it into your KitchenAid meat grinder attachment; and here's a cool little trick – when you're doing sausages; making meatballs; or hamburgers even, you actually grind the garlic in the grinder with the pork. It goes through and what happens is the garlic doesn't just get mixed into it in chunks, it actually gets enveloped in the meat, so you're really tasting this cooked garlic flavor but you're not getting the actual texture from it.
Then from here you add your spices – we go with a little fennel seed, some black pepper, a little bit of scallions, some salt and then depending on how spicy you like it (a lot or a little) red pepper flakes. Once you get it to this point you've got your sausage filling and from here there's two different things you can do – you can either just form it into patties or roll it into a log (up to you) and you can just toss it in a pan or on the grill; or you can take it to the next step if you'd like and get the sausage stuffer attachment and you can actually make these beautiful homemade sausages (shown below), just like as if you were in Little Italy in a meat market, just like that.
Once you get this part to it you're in the home stretch and you're making your sandwich. You take your favorite hero roll; hot dog roll or whatever you like; what I like to put on this one is a spicy mayonnaise; and we take sriracha hot sauce, which is a thai chili paste; we take our cooked sausages here and of course sausage and peppers isn't sausage and peppers without the peppers, so instead of just sautéing them like you see (shown below) normally on a sausage and peppers, we actually pickle them with some peaches; a little bit of fennel; some thyme. So you close this thing up and when you look at it, it kind of looks just like a sausage and peppers, but when you take a bite it's completely different and you get taste coming from all over the place. It's a lot of fun and I haven't made this yet where people aren't asking me for the recipe at the end."
Screen Shot: KitchenAid Mixer with Meat Grinder Attachment – Available at Macy's
CR: How about the side dish?
MF: "Well, you know when you're going to a barbecue or somebody's party, somebody always says, what can I bring? And obviously you're going to say 'oh how about a side dish.' In the summertime, especially around the 4th of July, cherry tomatoes are just starting to come off the vine and we've all seen some olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar – which I love, don't get me wrong; but try something a little different next time. Take a little fresh ginger and grate it, when the grated ginger falls into the towel, just give it a couple squeezes and you get this beautiful, flavorful ginger juice that actually takes the tomato salad and kind of brings it up to another level.
And then obviously if you want to do something sweet, here we have basically an apple but kind of done in a different way as well, it's five minutes (more or less) start to finish, so again all these things they're things that you've had before but they're done with a little twist and sometimes people appreciate that kind of thing."
CR: Well, thank you so much. Where can we go for more information?
MF: "Well, for any of these recipes and other things that you might be interested in, you can check it out at Macys.com/CulinaryCouncil."
Macy's Culinary Council – Macy's