A Sweet Dish...

Pan Roasted Veal Sweetbreads

Wild Morels, Sugar Snap Peas, Daurade du Riviere, Summer Truffles

and Madiera-Sherry Vinegar Pan Juices

Sweetbreads or Ris de Veau...not everybody's favorite snack for sure. My wife wouldn't touch the stuff. No way in hell. She is not in that boat alone. They can be a hard sell in just about any establishment or eatery, unless perhaps a German, or of course, a haute French bistro or brasserie. There, they are the norm, and expected! I tend to place them on my menus here and there, yet mostly practice that introduction at meals and tastings where I have a captive audience, or in other words, a set menu where they get what I serve. I do not expect that everyone will like them, or eat them at all, yet, I do push to expose them to it, if only just in my explanation of the dish. Typically, they will try them, as the dishes thus far have been inviting and exciting(hopefully), and there has been an ongoing, growing development of trust. I try to compose dishes that inspire and provoke thought and produce a new understanding in cuisine and philosophy, and if I have done well, then a new enlightenment towards eating and food, which in the end creates a born awareness and comfort level in trying new combinations and foodstuffs without as much hesitation. So, lately, I have been playing with sweetbreads in various forms. Mostly pan roasting this time around, as it suits my preferred method of preparation with the parings of late...with or centered around fish! We first soak the whole lobes of pristine white, and just a hint of pink thymus glands in milk, bay, peppercorns, coriander, thyme and a touch of sugar overnight. Then, we rinse well and soak in cold running water for an hour or so. I then sweat a small amount of mirepoix(mix of onions, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, small diced for a flavoring compound) along with various herbs of the moment...thyme, marjoram, savory, bay, rosemary, and chervil & parsley stems. I add some Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, reduce by 2/3, add fond blanc, or white stock (preferably veal, but chicken and/or vegetable will suffice), and bring to a subtle boil. When it reaches a gentle simmer, I allow to cook for 3-5 minutes or just until slightly firm. Then, plunge into an ice-bath to stop the cooking for several minutes. Remove, pat dry and carefully pick off outer membranes and sinew, keeping the whole gland intact. Remove any tough visible connecting tissues. Wrap up carefully and tightly in towel or linen and place into a shallow pan. Place another pan on top, and weight it moderately and allow to sit in refrigerator for several hours, or preferably overnight. Then we either slice, bread/coat in flour or breadcrumbs and saute... season and cook whole in brown butter, while turning and basting in a pan...

poach and then coat with aromats and sauces...pick the lobes apart into small pieces, separated by the natural membranes and dredge in herbs or spices or whatever. Very tasty indeed. Still...they are what they are and some ain't buying! To me, it is still about the art and determination of education of our guests, as I could clearly confirm by the thought of why our last guest did not want to eat them, as she thought they were the "tender part of a male"...the animelle...the testicles, or as she put it, the gems down south of the border. Bless her heart...at least she tried them!


Blogger Michael Walsh said...

nice piece, i love sweatbreads. I describe them as the best, most moist chicken breast you will ever have. Your prep with all the herbs adds alot to what is a simple piece of meat, well, gland, i guess.

i did a dr. pepper glazed sweatbread over pickled ginger congee. no one got it! i think we sold like 3 orders. i had to add bbq sauce and grits the next night so they would sell. oh well.

8:31:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

Hey Michael, long time no hear. Hope all is well. Yes, I agree that sometimes less is more, and then I tend to go and try to do more than what is perhaps necessary. The life of a chef. Thanks for the comment.

10:40:00 PM  
Blogger TC said...

Hey Chef, just read the last three blogs. First off I love sweetbreads. Although up until I worked for you, I would not have eaten them. But I remember working the line with Chris,and he had to prepare them for his station. We cooked up an order to taste them as neither of us had any idea how they taste. We both feel in love.
Secondly, that's how I've always felt about food. When I've done private caterings, there's always that moment when all the food is on the table looking,just before the buffet is open. Your insecure as to how it will be received. Whether or not, they will like it as you put your soul into what you have prepared. Then there's the I love its , it's so goods, and your on top of the world, cuz they love the food. They like you. Lastly, good to see you non-alcoholic beverage ideas come to fruition. Pun intended. LOL I too, tend to drink the non-alcoholic beverages with all my health isses when we go out.Some of these look pretty yummy. Looks good Chef!

9:54:00 PM  
Blogger cuisinier said...

glad you enjoyed the sweetbread post TC! It is all about learnign and experiencing new things. That si what we try to instill in folks. Enjoy the summer!

6:28:00 PM  

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