After reading Sam's post about Toulouse sausages recently, I immediately had to attempt a reasonable facsimile of her recipe. I altered my version a bit (who doesn't?) and I didn't use a key ingredient of hers: Fatted Calf sausage.
My local independent grocery store has an in-house butcher, and they make their own sausages, including a garlicky "French." Close enough.
It was truly delicious. I was thrilled, and chauvinistically pleased that I might not always have to make the early-morning trek to the Fellini-esque Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to get the FC version.
But for whatever reason, this past Saturday Cranky jumped up out of bed at 6 a.m. and left me sleeping, while he flew over the bridge to visit the fine folks at Fatted Calf. He got there a little too early, but dropped a valuable code name (rhymes with "jiggles"), and was told to return in a few minutes to pick up his booty.
Among his loot were a few links of the vaunted Toulouse sausages, fresh and fragrant.
So. For scientific and gastronomic purposes, Cranky decided to drop by our local market to get a couple of their French sausages.
Oh dear. They were frozen. The nice guy at the meat counter cracked a couple against a hard surface to separate them, and off he went.
OK. We fried them up last night. Oh, but wait; first the smell test: Whoops. The frozen ones smelled a little refrigeratory. The FC ones smelled beautiful. Both had comparable garlic components.
Then, once cooked: Uh-oh. I am so sorry to report. My local bodega flunked. Their sausages tasted of dead meat. I hate to gross you out with that language, but that is exactly why I have never been a huge fan of consuming vast quantities of meat. It smells and tastes dead.
The Fatted Calf sausage tasted — well, it would be creepy to say "alive" — it tasted "animal-y." Yeah, that's it.
Most meat most Americans have ever consumed probably tastes dead, and they don't really know it; they don't have any point of reference.
I should say that my local butcher might have a better product before it gets frozen; in fact, the first ones we ate tasted good and they were fresh. But I don't think they'd stack up to Fatted Calf.
Well, damn. So now I'm ruined.
That's OK. Cranky would be more than happy to make that early-morning run again while I snooze.