1. Burn charcoal in an outdoor kettle grill until coals are mostly gray and glowing, or heat an outdoor gas grill to medium-hot. (If the weather is unfriendly, heat the oven of your indoor stove to 375 degrees.) Line the inside and outside of a metal baking pan with a double layer of aluminum foil.
2. Halve or quarter the mushrooms (or leave them whole if they’re small). Cut the onions into sixths or eighths. Cut out core of the fennel and thinly slice the bulb. Place mushrooms, onions and fennel parts in pan.
3. Toss in tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and herbs. Brown the Italian sausage over the hot coals or in a skillet—you don’t need to cook them completely at this point, just give them a good, quick coloring on the outside. Cut the browned links into chunks and submerge them in the vegetables.
4. Cover tightly with foil and “grill-bake” the mixture in a covered grill (or bake them in the oven), shaking the pan occasionally, 30–40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread to sop up the pan juices.
* Spring onions are the mini-onions that are sold in bunches with their thick, green stems attached; they can be found at many farmers’ markets and roadside stands from early to mid-summer.
** Whimsical-looking curlicues with an arrow-like tip, garlic scapes are the flower stalks of hardneck garlic varieties. Local growers lop off the spiraling scapes to enhance bulb growth and sell them at farmers’ markets or to grocery stores. Buy only the furled scapes (because those that have begun to straighten out have also begun to toughen) and keep them bagged in the fridge, where they will hold well for two to three weeks.
Copyright by Terese Allen