Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweetbreads w/ Asparagus & Crab Salad

Apparently today is the first day of Spring.  One would never really know by looking at the temperature, though.  I mean, seriously - 38 degrees?!  Come on warm weather!

I had the day off on Monday and decided to take advantage of the sunshine (maybe a little too much since these photos are a little over-exposed - my laziness in editing and properly styling photos is a side effect of the cold weather) and made a unique salad to start my day. 

I could eat sweetbreads all day long.  They're seriously the most appealing of all the offal meat, in my opinion.  They're not sweet.  They're not bread.  But they're oh-so-delicious.  And for those of you that follow me on Instagram (@mtlabor) - you know that my new t-shirt exemplifies my love for sweetbreads =)


Sweetbread Poaching Liquid:

1 lb. veal sweetbreads
1 carrot, peeled and small diced
1/2 onion, small diced
2 celery ribs, small diced
5-6 parsley stems
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup white wine
1 cup veal/beef stock


1 lb. poached sweetbreads, peeled (great video on how this is done here)
1 cup seasoned flour, for dredging (you can adapt this however you like and it can even be as simple as salt and pepper - I add salt, onion powder, cayenne, oregano, and chili powder for mine)
salt and pepper, to taste
Oil, for frying

Asparagus Dressing:

4-5 stalks of asparagus, peeled, blanched, and shocked
1 cup spinach, blanched and shocked
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup watercress, washed
1/4 cup lump crab meat
asparagus stalks, peeled, blanched, and shocked - then cut on a bias
juice from 1/2 lemon
aged swiss cheese, optional
salt and pepper

I know what you're thinking - this is a lot of fuss for a salad.  But if you've got the time, or the occasion, it's definitely well worth it!

In a medium saucepan, combine the carrot, onion, celery, parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf, salt, pepper, white wine, and veal stock.  Bring to a slow simmer and add sweetbreads.  Poach for about 10 minutes, or until the sweetbreads start to firm up.  Remove the sweetbreads from the poaching liquid and transfer to an ice bath to cool down. 

Once cool, carefully remove the membranes from the sweetbreads - if you don't do this step, you'll end up with tough sweetbreads, and nobody likes that!

Heat a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed pot with oil to 325 F. 

Dredge the sweetbreads in the seasoned flour and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a Vitamix or a blender, combine the asaparagus, spinach, olive oil, and vinegar.  Blend until smooth and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  You can choose to strain through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer if you'd like.

Toss the watercress in a little bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Arrange on a plate in sort of a straight line.  Place sweetbreads on top, along with scattered pieces of lump crab, asparagus, and swiss cheese bits.  Drizzle some dressing around the plate and finish with freshly ground black pepper.

And voila - a fancy salad to impress any offal lover!

Have you guys had sweetbreads?  How do you like to cook them?


  1. My husband is a big sweetbread fan too, but he has to have them breaded otherwise the texture is too much for him.

  2. I also love sweetbreads. I generally fry them after dipping in breadcrumbs. Keep well Diane

  3. This is so interesting. I have never come across poached sweet breads before...

  4. Where do you get yours? I love them, but would be lost as to where to buy them!