THE MOST DELICIOUS MEAT YOU WILL EVER EAT: SWEETBREADS
As a blushing best 'galpal', my sweetheart Eddie took me from L.A to Monterey Cove's BearFlag Cafe, made famous by John Steinbeck in Cannery Row. As he was alive and a gourmet during WORLD WAR I, when sweetbreads were HUGE, and his memory was nothing if not LONG, he advised that I order this dish. Sweetbreads in cream. God love him. Eddie was always right about food and restaurants and ordering. This was the most delicious meat dish I'd ever tasted. The only highlight of that trip that exceeded that dish was reading "Cannery Row' on the way back, laughing and reading the frog-catching parts aloud to him.
This collection of sweetbread cookery tips below is from the book "The Century Cook Book", by Mary Ronald published in 1901 so Eddie's family cook had no doubt read it cover to cover by the time he was born in 1914. Also available from Amazon: The Century Cook Book. And online. The entire cookbook: http://www.vintagerecipes.net/books/century_cook_book/
How To Prepare Sweetbreads
Soak the sweetbreads in cold water for an hour or more. Change the water several times, so that all the blood will be extracted, and leave the sweetbreads very white. Put them on the fire in cold water, and simmer (not boil) for twenty minutes. Then immerse them again in cold water. This is to parboil and blanch them. Remove all the pipes, strings, and fibers it is possible to do without breaking the sweetbreads to pieces. When half cold tie each one in a piece of cheese-cloth, drawing it tightly into an oval form, and place them under a light weight until cold. They will then be smooth and a uniform shape, and may be larded with fine lardoons if desired. Use a silver knife for cutting sweetbreads.
Take parboiled larded sweetbreads, and place them on slices of salt pork in a baking-pan. Add enough stock to cover well the pan. Cook them in a hot oven for twenty minutes, basting frequently. Serve with a brown or with a mushroom sauce.
Place in a baking-pan a bed of vegetables cut in small dice, and a few pieces of salt pork. Lay parboiled sweetbreads on it. Add enough water or stock to cover the vegetables. Close the pan tight, and cook for forty to forty-five minutes. Uncover the pan the last fifteen minutes to let the sweetbreads brown. Paint them with glaze. Strain the liquor from the pan; thicken it with a brown roux, and serve it on the dish under the sweetbreads.
Cut the parboiled sweetbreads in slices and saute them in butter; serve with a cream sauce and green peas.
Roll the sweetbreads (either whole or cut in slices) in egg and crumbs; let them stand for a time, then fry in hot fat; dress them on a folded napkin and serve with them a creamy Bechamel sauce. They may also be dipped in fritter batter and fried.
Sweetbreads A La Poulette
Simmer the sweetbreads for thirty or forty minutes; blanch them, then cut or break them in pieces and place them on a dish. Pour over them a Bechamel or a Poulette sauce. Mushrooms and chopped truffles may be added if desired.
Chaudfroid Of Sweetbreads
Simmer the sweetbreads until cooked; blanch and tie them in cloth as directed above, or place them in muffin-rings under pressure until cold; cover them with a Chaudfroid sauce (see page 281). Place fancy bits of truffle on the top lightly, and when the sauce has set, paint it over with liquid aspic. Arrange them on a socle or on a mound of salad, and serve with them a Mayonnaise sauce and lettuce.
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