Hot Links

Seafood sausages are suddenly in vogue.

When did you last think about seafood sausage? Just checking, because when I brought up the subject with two of the city's top sausage makers, they said that strangely enough, they were thinking about the stuff just hours before I called. And at Campagne, Daisley Gordon is about to reprise his roasted lobster and scallop sausage for the restaurant's Bastille Day fete on July 14. If you've lately pondered alternative sausage products, too, then that's it; there's got to be something in the air. It was Gordon's prix-fixe menu that got me thinking. Noting saucisson d'Homard as the third course, it occurred to me that one rarely sees seafood used in sausage—and why the hell not? I e-mailed a chef friend, who said that not many people make it "because it's really damned hard. It's almost impossible to emulsify fat into fish and then cook it correctly so that it doesn't separate into a hot, porky bag filled with liquid fat and grainy fish in the shape of a sausage." Sure that Campagne wouldn't be serving sausage-shaped pork bags filled with grainy fish, I called them next. Gordon confirmed: The proteins in fish are different, and you can't grind it up the way you grind up pork or beef. But Campagne's saucisson, the chef reports, is similar to a boudin noir, or blood sausage. Heavy cream, breadcrumbs, and egg whites are combined and precooked with the lobster and scallops; the extra fat in the cream makes it all gel and hog casing, made from hog intestine, gives it its sausageness. Good enough. Still, I wondered about people who don't eat pork. Gordon acknowledged that it'd be good to make seafood sausage without the pork casing, and I could almost hear the wheels turning in his head when we hung up. At Uli's Sausage in the Market, Production Manager Andrew Wichmann said that as a matter of fact, he had been talking to Uli earlier that day about bringing back their salmon sausage. Wichmann says it was always popular, and I think I convinced him to put it back on our shelves by the end of this month. But, alas, they use pork casings as well. The seafood department at Whole Foods in Roosevelt also makes salmon sausage, five or six flavors of it—all with pork casing. When I reached Armandino Batali at Salumi, he laughed and said that just the night before, he and his wife Marilynn were reminiscing about a lobster and scallop sausage they made in Spain. Yep, he was pretty certain he used a pork casing back then, and if he features lobster sausage at Salumi for a week or so, which he sounded keen to do, he figures he'd use pork casing again. We've put a man on the moon and pickle flavoring into potato chips, people. Can't we make a good meatless casing? They do make vegetable protein and synthetic casings, but they can break or retain water, and no one I spoke with is particularly fond of using them. And then it occurred to me. If there's anyone in town with a lead on good alternative sausage, it's David Lee. The Field Roast king of Georgetown provided more synergy. By mid-July, his vegan grain meat links—actually linked together—will be for sale all over town. Lee's grain meat goes through a grinder and gets onion, fennel, Yukon gold potatoes, and other natural add-ins, and it comes in a casing plastic that you cut off at home before you brown them up. No meat casing means no meat, but no casing at all means there's none of that sausage-y snap when you bite in. "Tooth resistance? Yeah, we struggled with that," said Lee. Still, he's excited about how his product turned out, and he reports that the alternative sausage market is red hot. But you, with your thoughts of seafood dogs and vegetarian Weisswurst, already knew that. Campagne, 86 Pine St., 206-728-2800, www.campagnerestaurant.com. Uli's Sausage, 1511 Pike Place Market, 206-839-1000, www.ulisfamoussausage.com. Salumi, 309 Third Ave., 206-621-8722, www.salumicuredmeats.com. For information on Field Roast and grain meats, visit www.fieldroast.com. lcassidy@seattleweekly.com

 
comments powered by Disqus