Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Sweetbreads (thymus gland) are the ultimate organ meat, highly prized by chefs and connoisseurs for their mild flavor and velvety texture. They can be sauteed, braised, poached, grilled, fried, and even roasted. In addition to center of plate entrees, sweetbreads can be served as hot or cold appetizers or hors d’oeuvres. They can be purchased in specialty gourmet markets. If you have any questions e-mail me: AlanLeonetti@q.com
- Place the salt and vinegar into a saucepot, with enough water to cover the sweetbreads, and bring to a boil.
- Add the sweetbreads, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Drain and cover with cold water.
- Remove all membranes and tubes.
- Slice each sweetbread in half crosswise.
- Mix the flour and garlic powder together and dredge the sweetbreads in the flour mixture.
- Heat butter and oil in a skillet until very hot.
- Place the sweetbreads and shallots into the hot skillet and once you place them in, DO NOT move them around.
- When they are a light golden color on the bottom side, (about 3 to 5 minutes), with tongs, carefully turn them over to sear the other side until that side becomes a light golden color.
- Remove the sweetbreads and plate them as you desire. Garnish them with the Italian parsley leaves and serve as a wonderful appetizer.
After enjoying seared sweetbreads at a restaurant, we decided to try them at home. This recipe was easy and delicious. Our only addition was to soak the sweetbreads in a couple of changes of cold water for two hours before poaching. This seemed to draw out a lot of blood and "freshen" them from the store's packaging. The finished sweetbreads were soft and creamy white on the inside, brown and crisp on the outside. It is difficult to describe the taste, but sweetbreads are a little like smooth, bacon-y liver, but not at all chewy. (The experience was not too unlike tasting seared foie gras, but was decidedly less decadent.) Eaten alone, sweetbreads are very rich; we are going to try some of the fried pieces atop a spinach salad next.
I found that 2 minutes on each side, at very high heat as suggested, is excessive. In addition, unless the shallots are added toward the end of the cooking process, they are liable to burn and turn bitter. OK otherwise.
In Argentina (my native country) we BBQ sweetbreads over red hot coals, after is in the plate we dipped the crusty meat in our own sauce (chimichurry) and eat them with the rest of the meat and salad. A delicacy everybody enjoy. Celia