Italian Market Crostini (Lamb Sausage and Dried Cherries)

When my best friend moved to San Francisco, I drove with her from San Diego all the way up the coast. We stopped along the way to meet her Grandma at Anderson’s Pea Soup Restaurant; you may recognize it by its trademark windmill, but this location is historic for another reason. Within its walls I consumed, yes at the age of 27, my first ever chicken pot pie. (This is also where we picked up a frozen tray of lasagna (which remained on my lap for the rest of the drive, because naturally, the car was packed) and about three million bite size chocolate cupcakes). (Do you like how I did that, that was a parenthesis INSIDE a parenthesis)(!!!)(I am pretty sure this is totally illegal). So, back to my chicken pot pie story, Tanya and Grandma harassed me until I ordered it, and I did and it was good. 

You know, this story reminds me of an episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia where everyone is trying the get Charlie to leave Philly for the first time, and he reveals that he also never eaten a pear. They take him directly to the Italian Market where he eats his first pear. Like, the whole entire thing. Scene HERE
THAT reminds me of when my sweet boyfriend took me to Philadelphia and we got a recommendation for an amazing sandwich which could be found at a deli in the Italian Market. On our way there we saw a fruit/vegetable vendor pick an onion out of the soggy marsh of the street gutter and PUT IT BACK with the other onions. (As if it was contaminated with the plague) I mean, he didn’t even blow on it. We decided we didn’t want to eat somewhere where they also sold gutter onions.The amazing sandwich had lamb sausage and dried cherries and I imagine it tasted a little something like this… 

Italian Market Crostini
makes 8 crostini

8 Slices of baguette
2 Links of Lamb Sausage
1 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta
½ Dried Sweet Cherries
Zest from 1 Orange
½ Olive Oil
A few sprigs of fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper

Remove the zest from one orange and simmer in a pan with the olive oil. I recommend using a peeler to remove big pieces of zest instead of a microplane this time – we want to be able to remove the pieces from the oil after they infuse their flavor and not actually eat it. After about 20 minutes, remove the zest and pour most of the oil, leaving a little in the pan, over the dried cherries, allowing them to plump.  Toast the slices of baguette and top with about two tablespoons of ricotta each. Turn the heat up to the pan (with the remaining oil) and add the lamb sausage. I crumbed it and cooked without the casings, you can definitely slice and sauté with the casings as well.  Once the sausage is cooked through spoon on top of the ricotta covered toasts and then top with cherries, a drizzle of orange zest olive oil and fresh thyme leaves. Serve to someone you love.
**My sweet boyfriend and I did go on to have the most amazing sandwich we have both ever had in our independent lives. Replica recipe to follow soon.

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