This time of year, with a hint of fall in the air, my kitchen is fragrant with the scent of freshly-picked apples and late-summer ruby cherries; both have found their way into all manner of cakes and pies, shrubs and syrups. Apples play well with savory, too, including pork and duck or seafood. This is a one-pan dish, so pull out a large, wide skillet. The cook times will vary depending on which type of sausage you prefer or if you choose a quicker-cooking protein such as cod or scallops — both are great substitutes here for the sausage. How wrong can you go with apple and onion lightly caramelized in butter?
Roasted sausages and apples with onion and apple salsa
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 links bratwurst, chicken-apple sausage or sweet Italian sausage (1 pound)
2 tablespoons apple juice, apple cider vinegar or water
1 medium onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly-ground black or white pepper, to taste
2 large firm, tart apples, cores and stems removed, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1 sprig thyme or oregano, leaves chopped
Optional: 1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard; 2 tablespoons heavy cream, crème fraîche or sour cream
For the apple salsa:
1 large sweet-tart apple, core and stem removed, diced
1 jalapeño or serrano chile, seeds and stem removed; diced
1 cup diced cucumber or fennel bulb
1/2 cup fresh chopped tomato
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh green onion, cilantro, or parsley
For the salsa: Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl; season lightly with salt and pepper; set aside.
Melt one tablespoon butter in a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat. Prick sausages all over with a fork and add to pan. Let cook on one side, about five to seven minutes until golden brown, reducing heat to medium if browning too quickly. Turn sausages, add apple juice — or vinegar or water — and cook one minute. Add two tablespoons butter to pan and let melt. Reduce heat to medium; push sausages to one side of pan; add onion slices to other side of pan, and season lightly with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Add apple slices and thyme and cover pan; cook, stirring occasionally, another few minutes until apples are soft and sausages cooked through. If pan is dry, add a little more liquid until sausages are cooked through. At this point, serve as is, or stir in one tablespoon mustard and two tablespoons heavy cream, crème fraiche, or sour cream. Serve with apple salsa on top and rice, noodles, or bread for sopping up the pan juices.