Salads and Sausage: A Polish Charcuterie Plate

Salads and Sausage:  A Polish Charcuterie Plate

With the hot weather on the horizon, I have been struggling to come up with food that I’d want to eat that fits the blog mold.  Usually once the thermostat surpasses 80 degrees, all I want to eat is ice cream. This is not acceptable.  Well, maybe it is until I have to set an example for my children. Today is not that day, so ice cream for dinner is a-ok.

Nonetheless, this weekend was Memorial Day, and with that comes sun, grilling, cold salads, juicy berries and fresh drinks.  You know what goes great on a grill? Sausage.  And you know what Poland is known for? Sausage. The stars have aligned.

There are so many things that can be done with polish sausage, and so many toppings that dress it so nicely, which meant it was hard to decide what to do.  Common on many Polish tables is a charcuterie plate, typically filled with a variety of sausages, smoked meats, hams and cheese for all to share.  Since this required minimal preparation and cooking, I decided to go with this idea.  While most charcuteries have more than one type of meat, it wasn’t worth it for just one, so I only have kielbasa.

I had originally planned on making Polish sausage from scratch, but quickly realized this required a smoker…which I do not have. Fail on that, so I opted to buy some.  Now, I try my hardest to not eat packaged foods filled with ingredients I cannot pronounce.  In shopping for kielbasa, this was pretty hard, but I managed to find a brand with only seven, very-pronounceable ingredients.  I’m not usually a brand snob about things, but I will sing the praises of this sausage.  For the prep, I simply braised it in a skillet for a few minutes on each side with some leftover white German wine that I had from last week. On the grill would do, or simply browning it with olive oil long enough to heat through.

packaged sausage

Sausage aside, what made this meal a bit different are the sides that I made to accompany it: rye bread (recipe for another posting), a beet-horseradish salad (cwilka) and a green bean salad (fasolka szparagowa).  Both salads are great non-mayo alternatives to any barbecue. I also think the beet salad would make an excellent hot dog topper.

sausage

For the Cwilka

Ingredients

1 can whole beets, grated

4 ounces prepared horseradish (the original receipt had 1 whole cup- I think that would be too strong and too much)

2 tsp brown sugar

2 tsp white vinegar

beets

Directions

Mix everything up.  Top the sausage.

For the fasolka szparagowa

Ingredients

2 pounds fresh green beans (trimmed) *can also be made with cauliflower

1 tsp butter

1 clove garlic grated (optional)

3-4 tbsp pancko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Boil or steam green beans until desired tenderness. Drain well.

2.  Meanwhile, heat butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and bread crumbs and toast, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant. Add green beans and stir to evenly coat them with the garlic and bread crumbs.

green beans

Season well with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parmesan.

All in all, this cold meal was just what the doctor ordered this weekend. Low maintence. Tasty. Clean. I think your next barbecue could use some Polska in it, so give these salads a try.

sausage plate

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