Saturday, March 28, 2009

5 people + 1 bottle of B&B = Fun Dinner Party

I totally stole that title from Chris's google status.

I got the idea of making the sweetbreads for more than just Kyle and myself on Monday night. If you're cooking weird shit, it's way more fun making other people eat it too, so I invited some culinarily minded friends.

Surprisingly, sweetbreads are not hard to come by aside from the fact that my hours aren't very conducive to me visiting the butcher. I sent Kyle on a mission to swing by Clancy's on his way home from work on Tuesday to pick up 2 pounds of sweetbreads... for $12. Talk about economic downturn, why isn't everyone making sweetbreads for their dinner guests. This stuff is cheap!

I started soaking them Wednesday night and changed the water in the morning on Thursday, and again when I got home on Thursday night. The water was pretty clear even after the 1st soak, so I figured they had to have less "ick" in them at that point. Though all of the recipes I read called for several changes of water, 3 would have to suffice as I was short on time.

Taking off the membranes was definitely the hardest part. There were a lot of membranes, and not a lot of patience on my part, especially since they were SO COLD. My hands are cold by nature, so I was just mad at those damn glands the entire time I was peeling them. Put that on top of the fact that I didn't really know what was supposed to be there and what wasn't, it was an interesting experience to say the least.

After peeling off membranes and cutting off valves (yes, valves) I covered the sweetbreads in salted water and brought them to a boil. I quickly rinsed them off and put them between two plates with 2 pieces of le creuset on top to press. This apparently gets more "ick" out, and renders them more tender.

Right after being pressed
Sweetbreads and B&B

I kept them pressed until it was time to dredge and fry the guys. Nothing fancy, just some flower and whatever spices I had handy.

Sweetbreads and B&B

I melted 1/2 stick of butter and went to town

I totally forgot to take pictures of the finished project, but Chris allowed me to snap some of the remaining glands from his plate.
Sweetbreads and B&B

I was kinda bummed because I didn't have a very good gauge on what I was doing and couldn't find a reliable recipe online to save my life. I essentially made up my own recipe, picking some tips up from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which is really a pain in the ass to cook from) and and a little from Gastronomique. While they were tasty enough, Chris told me the flavor and texture could have been improve by both soaking and poaching in milk rather than water.

Sweetbreads and B&B

I also think they could have used a sauce of some sort, but it was kind of a thrown together dinner party and we had loads of meats and cheeses along with homemade bread to nibble on so sauce was an afterthought. Peter was the only one to clean his plate

I think of the five of us, four had never had B&B before. I recall serving it to people back in my table waiting days, but never thought to try it. It was sweet and spicy and overall pleasant as a general consensus... and then the five of us finished the bottle (which was full when dinner began). Whoops.
Sweetbreads and B&B

Overall I'd say its fair to call the dinner a success, if not for the sweetbreads then definitely for the company. In six months maybe I'll try my sweetbreads again (or when my mom is in town, as she's a sucker for such things).

Next week: Undecided and not inspired (this isn't a good sign if it's only my 2nd week into this goal) Suggestions, anyone?


Melissa said...

Serious accolades for taking on sweetbreads, Kate! I ate my first sweetbreads at the 112 eatery back in November. They were served with a red wine and wild mushroom sauce, which made for a tasty, yet extremely rich dish. I followed it up with some pasta and foie gras meatballs (too much offal!).

How about escargot? Jalapeño poppers? Crown rack of lamb? Pig cheeks? Kobe beef and foie gras sliders (p.s. I'm coming over if you make that)? scallop ceviche? fried zucchini blossoms? Chimichurry popcorn?

Kate said...

Melissa- All great suggestions. I have a shellfish allergy so that severely limits my seafood items (but don't think I don't want to!) Um, yes to kobe beef and foie gras sliders! I'm putting off foie gras for a few weeks/months because it just seems so obvious that I would make that :)