Sometimes a dinner party meal can look like a fancy spread but is really just a simple dinner that could be pulled together any night of the week. It’s all about presentation! This is a dinner that I have relied on a number of times for either a busy night or dinner party. The key is embracing the strong flavors of sausage, garlic and watercress: let them steal the show. I can’t tell you how guests have loved adding bites of sausage to crusty bread smeared in roasted garlic and dripping with olive oil. With wine and good company it’s sure to be an unforgettable night. What I love is that this is a one pan dinner ready in about 40 minutes with very little work on my part, so it is part of the normal rotation of weekday meals around here too. For a dinner party I pull out all the stops and serve everything artfully arranged on a big platter family style. On a busy weeknight we make plates in the kitchen directly from the baking sheet. I can’t play food blogger every night.
Watercress is a favorite of my husband and so I try and find uses for it when I can. Watercress can be tricky to find so if you can’t get it baby kale or even spinach will work. The peppery kick of the watercress is a bit different and I find people enjoy it since the taste it so rarely.
In this dinner almost any sausage short of a hot dog or bratwurst would work nicely. I have used every variety of Italian sausage, fresh South American Chorizo, and even chicken andouille. What matters is it’s a robust flavorful sausage because any drippings from the sausage will help flavor the potatoes and mushrooms. So select something bold and tasty.
Roasted Sausage and Mushrooms with Watercress Salad
- 6 sausages Italian, chorizo or any other flavorful style cut in half
- 2 heads whole garlic
- 1-2 sweet potatoes peeled cubed
- 2-4 white potatoes cubed
- 1 pint baby Portobello mushrooms
- 1 large Spanish onion diced large
- 4 cups watercress
- zest of one lemon
- Crusty bread
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp agave can substitute honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat your oven to 425 degrees; if you have a roast setting it’s a great time to use it. Cut tops off the garlic heads exposing the tops of the cloves, drizzle the inside with olive oil, salt generously and wrap tightly in foil. I normally just toss the garlic in the oven as soon as I start pre heating it.
Toss the white and sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Roast the potatoes and garlic for 10-15 minutes.
While the potatoes roast toss onion and mushrooms with oil and salt. Redistribute the potatoes on the baking sheet and add the quartered mushrooms and onions. Then arrange the halved sausage on top. Roast everything for another 15-20. Don’t over crowd the baking sheet, if needed use two pans to keep the veggies in a single layer.
While the sausage and veggies are roasting make the simple vinaigrette, by mixing and all the ingredients. Taste to adjust salt and sweet.
You will know everything is done when the potatoes are tender and the sausage is browned. Just before the roasted sausage and veggies are done dress the watercress lightly with some of your dressing. Don’t overdo it!
Fold the roasted veggies and sausage into the greens letting the heat from the meat wilt the watercress just a little. Zest the lemon over the top of everything.
Squeeze the tender roasted garlic out of the head into a shallow dish, add salt and pepper then drizzle with olive oil and dot with a few splashes of the remaining dressing. Serve with the bread for dipping.
You can dress up the platter with any other veggies you have on hand like tomatoes or beets. I also serve Dijon mustard on the side for dipping!
Cut the sausage in half so each 6 inch sausage is now 3 inches…do not cut the long way.