Oxford Sausage, Oxfordshire
An Oxford sausage is something of a misnomer, as a proper Oxfordshire sausage is more of a patty than what we would recognize these days as a sausage, the original versions being made without skins.
Also known as Oxford Skates, though the reason seems to be lost in the mists of time, the Oxford sausage had acquired a reputation at least two hundred and fifty years ago. They are usually made with a 50/50 blend of pork meat of good quality, perhaps shoulder, as these are meant to be a quality product, and veal. The product is bulked out, and given a notably stiffer texture than is usual in British sausages, by the use of beef suet. To this blend is added a little cereal in one form or another and the flavourings of which lemon is most perceptible. In addition to lemon plenty of herbs are added, seasonings, and some spice. Sage is the dominant herb, with marjoram, thyme and savory also featuring in recipes. Nutmeg is the most prominent spice.
Traditionally the sausages are hand-moulded into a crescent before cooking, perhaps being seen as like a skate blade in shape, though it takes some imagination to get there. With veal being out of favour for ethical reasons (though one should discriminate between the continental crate-reared white veal and the far more acceptable pink veal sourced in our own country) lamb may be substituted by some cooks or butchers making Oxford sausages.
Oxford sausages are traditional breakfast fare, and can be fried, braised or poached