Intrigued by the masterful combination of sausages and oysters, earlier this fall we bookmarked a page in Richard Olney’s indespensible book Ten Vineyard Lunches. The recipe was for tiny green crepines, or caul-wrapped ‘green sausages,’ served with oysters on the half shell.
These crepines were the best homemade sausages I’ve ever had, and super fun and easy to make, too. The ‘green’ aspect derives from huge bunches of spinach, which are finely chopped, sauteed, and folded into a pork sausage, garlic and parsley mixture.
The patties are gently sealed in pig caul — that’s the beautiful lacy stomach lining found in various animals — and then cooked until golden brown and crispy. The caul sort of melts away and tightens the sausage up, keeping it intact and providing a natural sausage casing for the ground pork. We found that these sausages render quite a bit of fat, so we drained the pan halfway through. Ideally the crepines are grilled over hot coals, but we found the broiler worked just as well.
So we had some friends over and quickly devoured these sausages with toasted bread, butter, lemon wedges, a simple migonette sauce (red wine vinegar, chopped shallots, cracked black pepper + minced parsley) and oodles of oysters — a few dozen of them Rockefeller style, even. What can I say, we were feeling festive.
There’s no reason why you can’t make sausages like this all the time. Caul is fairly cheap (we bought a baseball-sized puck of caul for about $5), and freezes great. As you can imagine, it’s quite durable — and beautiful! — and the ineffably porky essence it adds to the sausages is rich and delicious beyond belief. (Apologies for the caul puns. We riffed on the topic for at least an hour during dinner, at one point I described myself as a ‘caul girl.’)