I was recently invited to Ned Castle’s Tuesday tradition of “Burger Night.” Following his direction to a house in the South End, I found myself standing in a room full of beautiful, young, stylish people who stood around five platters of sausages. Chef Dale, the genius behind the meats, had labelled each platter with a little slip of paper that described the flavors. The room collectively drooled and moaned in appreciation as they read the labels. Upon reading “Jasper Hill, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, and toasted pecan,” I had to step away from the counter to contain my excitement. While I waited for the sausages to be grilled, I munched on home-made jalapeno and cheddar scones.
Ned has been casually hosting burger nights in his home in the North End for a number of years, and this sausage-themed evening was a welcomed exception. We all lounged by candlelight in the screened-in porch of Ned’s friend’s spacious and stylish apartment. A very eager fellow whipped up an appetizer of home-made perogies which the crowd devoured in a matter of seconds.
When the sausages finally came off the grill onto the table, we swarmed the platters and listened to Dale’s descriptions of each flavor. As I bit into a whole roasted pecan, Ned described why he likes these sausages so much:
“When you bite into Dale’s sausages, you find whole chunks of fantastic ingredients. Not just the usual wimpy traces of blue cheese, but CHUNKS.”
I had to return for seconds and thirds of the curry, ginger, and coconut milk– three flavors that I would never expect in summertime grilled meat, but they complimented the pork perfectly. The lemon zest, roasted red pepper and toasted pistachio flavor was a bit overwhelming; I felt like I was eating a savory lemon meringue pie. The blue cheese and pecan flavor was intriguing, but could have improved with a third element.
After gorging on so many delicious meats, along with grilled sweet corn, cranberry feta orzo, peach salad, and golden watermelon, I was taken aback when Dale brought out a dozen of his own ice cream flavors for the party to sample. Although I knew I was on the urge of bursting, I willingly tried a bite from every pint.
Dale used to work as one of the flavor creators for Ben and Jerry’s, and the similarities showed: the ice cream was too sweet. We tried such flavors as “red, white, and blueberry,” and “devil’s food cake,” but my favorites were “malted chocolate” and “ginger snap.” The ginger snap contained crystallized ginger, ginger cake, cinnamon, and caramel. These were spectacular components, but I could have done with 30% less sugar. I leaned back on the cushy porch furniture, fondly remembered the sausage, and did my best not to slip into a permanent food coma.