Today is moving day in the Shungu household. We’ve spent the first three months of our married life in Longe’s bachelor pad, and I am so excited to move into our first apartment together.
We’re moving my dining room table out of storage and into its new home: a legitimate dining room. After a year of cramming the dining room table in the corner and then a few months in storage, it’ll be nice to actually have room for more than a couple of people to sit at the table!
In addition to having more space, we’re really looking forward to hosting gatherings of all kinds. Whether it’s dinner for a few friends or a gigantic party to watch the Super Bowl, we’re excited to turn the apartment into a home where we can host and entertain.
When I was dreaming up this Italian-themed brunch, I knew Italian sausage had to be on the menu. But I wanted to make it a little more breakfast-worthy. So I doctored up a traditional Italian sausage recipe, adding spices and herbs to make a sausage patty that tastes Italian but lands squarely in the breakfast category.
One distinguishing characteristic of Italian sausage is fennel seeds. I love the licorice-like taste that they lend to the pork. I give the tiny seeds a quick chop or crush them with the back of my knife to release the fennel flavor throughout the patties.
To make the sausage taste like “breakfast” to my guests, I added a tablespoon of fresh sage—the signature flavor of breakfast sausage. You’ll most likely find the rest of your ingredients in your spice cabinet. But honestly? If you’re missing one of the spices, just leave it out! Your guests will be none the wiser. 🙂
The genius idea for the fried sage leaves came from my friend Kelley of Haviland Events, who lent her Italian dishes and amazing tablescaping skills for this brunch spread. She spent a year in Italy living with a family, and they taught her how to beer batter and fry almost anything from the garden, including fresh sage leaves. They are a must-try hot out of the oil!
These Italian Sausage Breakfast Patties would be a fun weekend morning project. Even kids could get involved in the shaping of the patties! As far as skills needed, they’re just as easy as shaping hamburger patties.
Italian Sausage Breakfast Patties
Yield 6 servings
- 1½ lbs ground pork
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped or crushed with the back of your knife
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Fried sage garnish:
- 8 large fresh sage leaves
- ½ cup flour
- ¾ cup beer (ale or lager—drink the rest!)
- ¼ cup canola oil
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the butter and olive oil. Mix gently with your hands until combined.
- Roll into 1½ inch balls (golf ball size) and then flatten into patties, approximately ½ inch thick.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil. Place 4–5 patties in the pan (or however many will fit without crowding the pan). Cook until golden brown, about 2–3 minutes. Flip and repeat. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining uncooked patties.
Fried sage garnish:
- Heat canola oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Pat sage leaves dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the beer and flour. Place the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil bubbles around the wood, the oil is ready. If not, continue to heat the oil.
- When the oil is ready, dip a sage leaf into the beer batter. Place the sage leaf in the oil and repeat with remaining leaves. Fry for 1–2 minutes, or until golden brown underneath. Flip and repeat until the other side is golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate.
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