I Love Kebabs

by Amy Sherman

summerkebabs.jpgI don't know why eating food on a stick is so much fun, but it is. The best kebabs I ever had were in Istanbul, the meat sizzled on the outside but was juicy on the inside. Luckily kebabs are easy to make at home even for those like me, without an outdoor grill. I'm amazed at how versatile kebabs are and how they always manage to stretch whatever I'm cooking. It must have something to do with surface area and spacial relations. When food is served on a stick, it just seems like there is more of it. Two slices of eggplant, two small zucchini and just under two Italian sausages somehow made a huge dinner for two. It also gave me the feeling of Summer, even though it was cooked and eaten indoors.

When it comes to kebabs, skip the bamboo. The best kind of skewers are metal--I have two sets, flat metal which are particularly good for meat and vegetables and double pronged which are perfect for seafood. With either one you choose, the food won't slip and slide. In my experience food also cooks faster and more evenly on metal skewers than on bamboo. Buy 'em once, use them forever.

The secret to this recipe is the marinade. Most recipes call for putting a sauce on the vegetables after they cook, but this marinade has nothing in it that will burn and the eggplant in particular soaks up lots of flavor. The smoked paprika adds great smoky flavor and color. I also find that the sausage is salty enough that you don't need to add any additional salt. I used spicy sausages, but I think you could use sweet ones if you prefer. Don't be tempted to cut the sausage and vegetables into larger chunks, keeping the vegetables and sausage slices small allows them to cook quickly and evenly.

Sausage & Vegetable Kebabs

Makes 2 servings

3/4 lb mixed eggplant and summer squash
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika--hot or sweet
2 Italian sausages, about 1/2 pound
Fresh basil or sage leaves, optional

Slice the eggplant and squash into small cubes, about 1/2 inch. Make the marinade by combining the lemon juice, olive oil, galic and smoked paprika. Place the marinade and vegetables into a zip top bag and let marinate for up to 3 hours. Most of the marinade will be absorbed by the vegetables.

Preheat broiler then slice the sausage into about 12 - 15 slices. Slide the cubes of squash, eggplant and sausage onto skewers, preferably metal, with sage or basil leaves on top of each piece of sausage. All the meat and vegetables should be touching with no spaces in between.

Place skewers on a foil lined broiler pan and broil about 7 minutes on each side or until meat and vegetables are cooked through. Serve with couscous.


Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy .   


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