Sweetbreads

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Joined Jan 31, 2002
I looked over previous posts on this topic, and didn't find quite what I'm looking for. I guess it's less of a cooking question, and more of a dining question:

How should sweetbreads be done (like temp-wise)?

I once had them as part of a mixed grill, and they were crispy, thin, and more or less well-done. The bacon of the beef world was my impression.

Last night, however, I went to a sexxy french restaurant nearby (graduation ball, woo-hoo!) and ordered the sweetbreads served with a truffle based sauce. I didn't get quite what I expected: they were thick, lumpy, seemed rareish (which, given that its a fairly exotic animal part, unnerved me a bit), had what seemed to be a very soggy breading on them, and were very grainy. Flavour-wise everything was very earthy, and tasty enough, but the texture seemed way off to me. I was expecting crispy. Should I have sent the thing back (boy, I hate to do that), or was I up against some sort of pallate illusion, being that what I had didn't jive with what I though I was about to have?

Cheers,
P
 
79
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Joined Mar 7, 2002
My dearest Moxiefan,

Dear Abby applauds your little taste adventure. She simply adores the sweetbreads!

You should be aware, that there are two types of sweetbreads, the thymus gland and the pancreas. Both kinds of sweetbreads have a mild, delicate flavor and texture. For preparation, they are usually blanched, then breaded and quickly sautéed.

Dear Abby believes adamantly that the veal sweetbreads (the thymus glands from calves, you understand) are by far superior to all others. Simply divine!

As Dear Abby will soon be traveling to Chicago, she was hoping that one of the kind souls on this forum could inform her of where to find the most perfect crispy sweetbreads in this windy city.

Abby
 
1,389
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Moxiefan!!! I haven't had those for months, I'd better go to the Market .

In Greece in order to be consider a gourmee you should consume those things passionately.

I will agree with Dear Abby that the best are the veal ones.

We just saute them without having blanched them first.

Saute them in very hot olive oil and serve them after adding lemon juice

:lips: :lips: :lips:
 
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Joined Feb 2, 2002
I used to prepare sweetbreads all the time in a restaurant in the Pacific Northwest.

We would blanch the sweetbreads (fresh lemon in the water)....making sure they were cooked completely.
Next, cooled.....then remove any of the lobs, and membrane around them.

We would place them in a hotel pan with another pan on top,
(the top pan would be weighted down) and placed in the walk-in.

After this they would be portioned, wrapped in plastic, and ready to use.

They would always be prepared crisp.

I have not had them for years but crave them every now and again.

Sauteed Beef Tenderloin Medallions with Sweetbreads in a Madiera Sauce with Morels or Chanterelles.

Or Very Crisp Sweetbreads served on top of Creamed Leeks & Spinach with Roasted Garlic & Freshly Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Now I am hungry!!!

Chef Nosko
Boston, MA
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
I would just like to second Chefs Noskos technique of prepping sweetbreads for service.

This is the classical way, It is very important to blanch the glands until 85/90% done, seperate, peel and press.

Also, Dear Abby and Athenaeus are right on target about the quality of the veal thymus. Like said before me, crispy on the outside and milky tender on the inside.

A bruinoise of sweetbreads with cepes and a little Foie gras, with crispy potatoes cooked in duck fat with a beautiful Cotes de beune...Very tasty :)

I should say, as I re read Chef Nosko's advice, the only thing I do different is I do not use lemon in the water, I prefer a bouquet garni and kosher salt.

The salt does it's job of flavoring + a quick leaching
 
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