Yield: 1 servings
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I was looking through an Italian cookbook for an Alfredo sauce (no luck there) and ran across a section on sweetbreads. Here's a short run down on what they are, how to prepare them for cooking and three recipes. Veal sweetbreads are more tender and flavorful than any other variety and are the type most commonly found in American markets.
Sweetbreads are very similar to brains in texture and flavor.
However, they are somewhat less delicate, and the receive the same preliminary preparation and generally the same cooking treatment. A whole sweetbread is the thymus gland of the animal and consists of 2 nodules, or lobes, of which the more rounded is the tenderest and best part. This choicer lobe is sometimes available separately, although it is more expensive.
If sweetbreads are to be sauteed or broiled, first soak them in several changes of cold water for 2 hours. Drain and carefully remove as much as possible of th membrane that covers them, being careful not to dig into the tender flesh. Soak them again in cold water acidulated with lemon juice or vinegar and again remove was much of the membrane as possible. Cut off the connective tubes and then blanch the sweetbreads over low heat for 15 minutes in lightly salted water acidulated with lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 quart of water). The water should be maintained at a point just below a simmer; do not boil. Drain and plunge them in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. They are now ready to be sliced and sauteed.
Sauteing is the more popular method of cooking sweetbreads. If, however, they are to be braised, blanching them is not necessary.
From "Great Italian Cooking-La Grande Cucina Internazionale" by Luigi Carnacina, edited by Michael Sonino, Agradale Press, New York Posted by Stephen Ceideburg; December 22 1990.