Johnnie C’s Sweet Italian Sausage Subs with Fennel and Onions
Spirits and sautéed fennel add new flavors to grilled sausage subs. Plus, Rach’s hubby, John, throws in a few of his favorites as suggestions!
- 8 good-quality sweet Italian sausages (about 2 pounds), such as John’s pick, Fra’ Mani
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil EVOO, plus more for drizzling
- 2 bulbs fennel with fronds, quartered, cored and thinly sliced, with a handful of fronds reserved
- 2 medium or 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- About 1/3 cup Pernod (or other licorice-flavored liqueur) or John’s current fave, St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 4 Italian-style 8-inch-long sub or hoagie rolls
- Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for garnish
- A handful of torn basil leaves or a few stems of tarragon, chopped
- Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
Parboil the sausages in a few inches of water until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat an outdoor grill, indoor griddle or cast-iron pan to medium-high heat.
While the grill heats up, add 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple turns of the pan, to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel, onion, garlic and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. Deglaze with the Pernod or St-Germain, then with the white wine; reduce the liquids at a simmer for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, split the sausages lengthwise but do not cut through; drizzle with EVOO. Grill the sausages on both sides. Place in the sub rolls and top with the fennel-onion mixture and cheese; garnish with the basil or tarragon, reserved fennel fronds and parsley.