Monday, February 25, 2008
Pancreas + Hot Fat = Delectable moment
Most people think sweetbreads are the bollocks of either a calf or a lamb. They are in fact glands of either two kinds - the thymus gland from the neck, or the pancreas. This recipe is concerned with the pancreatic kind from calves.
My butcher, Los Paisanos, had them frozen so the first job was to defrost. All sweetbreads must then be blanched in boiling water first, cooled, trimmed of sinew and membranes, then pressed. The final preparation is your choice: Grilled, poached, braised, fried etc. On the back of a visit to Prune where the chaps and I had a plate of delicious deep-fried sweetbreads, and loosely following a recipe for 'BEIGNETS DE RIS DE VEAU' in Larousse Gastro, I wanted to bread and deep fry mine...
You should always soak sweeties in cold water overnight before prepping. This removes all the blood. Blanching, cooling, trimming and pressing were easy. I placed my treasure in a plan of cold lightly salted water, brought to the boil for a about a minute, then plunged the sweeties into some iced water to cool. After trimming away all the outer membranes and connective tissue, I put them in a pan between two tea towels, and weighed down a lid that fit inside then pan to press. Now I was ready for the fun part. Flour, egg, and 'honey panko' to coat. I Plunged these into a pan of hot oil and fried until just golden, then popped them in the oven to cook through, about 10 minutes. After a rest, they were carefully sliced open to reveal sweet white nodules of giving goodness.
Adam came round with a very good Sauv Blanc and after making a quick salad of parsley, capers, red onion, olive oil and lemon juice, we were ready to eat. They were delicious and had that classic subtle milky taste and a texture reminiscent of fish fingers. So rich were they though, that we couldn't quite eat them all, and sadly had to leave a few golden nuggets untouched.
By the way, I will be cooking real bollocks when I can get some from the butcher. He says he'll have some next week...