Celebrating spring with Canal House Cooking’s oysters with sausage and chilled avocado-cucumber soup.

Oysters and hot sausages. They pair surprisingly well together.

Despite the fact that the temperatures were barely cracking 40 degrees and snow was predicted to fall up in New England, there was no way I wasn’t going to let the first day of spring go by without marking it in some substantial way. I ended up flipping through my Canal House Cooking books, and landed on a couple of simple recipes that caught my eye: oysters with sausages and chilled avocado-cucumber soup. Michael suggested making cutlets or roasted chicken, and just like that we had a menu that felt properly celebratory.

I’ve sung the praises of the Canal House Cooking books previously, as their slow-fried chicken thighs are a favorite around here as is the ever-so-simple Italian Greyhound, and what I like about them is that they are incredibly unpretentious and you really feel like you’re hanging out in their riverside kitchen studio in Lambertville, New Jersey. Some of the recipes are more complicated than others, but what I love to do is discover little combinations that I otherwise would not have thought of going together, like oysters and sausages.

All you have to do is have someone shuck the oysters while someone else grills the sausages, and then you simply alternate between eating a bit of sausage and slurping down a fresh oyster. It’s hard to argue with an appetizer that simple but also that satisfying.

The soup is slightly more complicated in that you have to work in batches, but really, the blender and then the fridge to most of the work for you. Garnished with a bit of herb-infused goat cheese that we had from the previous night’s quasi dinner (we ate light because we had a big, late lunch earlier), it was the perfect way to remind me that spring is here, even if the weather would have you believe otherwise.

Chilled avocado-cucumber soup.

Oysters and Sausages
adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 4

Serves 2

1 dozen oysters, shucked
1-2 links of sausage of your choice

When oysters are shucked, keep them cold on ice or in the fridge. In the meantime, cook the sausages: either on a grill or using a grill pan, brown the sausages over high heat and then move them to a cooler part of the grill/grill pan until the sausages come to 165 degrees. Cut into pieces and serve with the oysters, alternating the sausages first and then the oysters.
Chilled Avocado-Cucumber Soup
adapted from Canal House Cooking, Volume 4

3 ripe, halved, and pitted avocados
1 unpeeled English cucumber, cut into chunks
3 garlic cloves, smashed
4 cups chicken stock
Juice from a fat lemon (3 tablespoons)
Kosher salt, to taste

Working in two batches so your blender isn’t overfilled, puree the avocado, cucumber, stock, garlic, and lemon juice into a smooth soup; season with salt to taste. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving, and serve with either some Greek yogurt, goat cheese, or sour cream and a bit of hot sauce if desired.

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6 comments
  1. Wait a min, you shuck your own oysters, right??
    Don’t ruin this fantasy I have in my head of you, please tell me you do!!

    • Absolutely I do! And if I get frustrated with some I have Michael do the rest. There’s no other way, especially in this application.

  2. Brianne said:

    Spring, indeed! We got six inches of snow and I made my favorite, most wintry food: Hatch Green Chile Stew. The snow is mostly gone already! (Of course it is.) I have the first three Canal House books, and they are pretty great. I’m pretty intrigued by the combo of sausages and oysters, though. I can’t wait until it actually gets warmer so I can eat springy foods. I just need a big bowl of freaking stew when it’s cold! I can’t fake Spring dinners! (But I’m glad you can; this one sounds boss!)

    • This is why I’m glad to be out of New England–while we had a couple of cold days, temperatures have been creeping back into the 60s and 70s all week, which is pretty fantastic. I think it’s much easier to fake spring dinners when you know it’s not going to stay cold for long, so I completely understand making hearty stew when six inches of snow are on the ground.

  3. shannon said:

    It’s just barely 7 am, and for some reason this sounds delicious. For breakfast. It’s weird i know, but your photos and the description make it sound perfect.

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