Offal, Veal


Sweetbreads are the thymus gland (or pancreas) of a young calf or lamb. Famously, on season four of Top Chef, Stephanie Izard declared that properly cooked sweetbreads taste like Chicken McNuggets, and it’s true – the meat is mild and savory. Because they are so high in cholesterol – nearly 400mg per 100g cooked – sweetbreads are best served in small quantities.

In this dish, maitake supplements the sweetbreads and raw tart apple offsets the meat’s richness.

2 veal sweetbreads

1 large leek, white only, julienned

1 Granny Smith apple, julienned (1/16″) and held in ice water with lemon juice

2 large maitake (about 200g), trimmed and sliced

4 cloves garlic confit, pureed

2 oz unsalted butter

1 lemon, juiced and strained

pea sprouts, leaves only

1/4 c Wondra

kosher salt

espelette pepper (if unavailable, substitute white pepper and a tiny pinch of cayenne)

Prepare the sweetbreads at least 8 hours in advance by soaking in cold water (in the refrigerator), changing twice. Remove the membrane with a thin, sharp knife and then roll the sweetbreads in a kitchen towel to form and dry. Press the sweetbreads underneath a wooden cutting board weighed down with cans or similar in the refrigerator for about 2 hours before cooking.

Braise the julienned leek in 1 tbsp butter. Season and set aside.

Saute the maitake with the pureed garlic confit in a small amount of garlic oil. When golden, squeeze a small amount of lemon juice over maitake and season. Set aside.

Unwrap the sweetbreads. Slice 5/8″ thick. Season with salt and espelette and dredge in Wondra before pan frying over medium-high heat.  Brown butter and add 1 tsp lemon juice.

Plate maitake and sweetbreads; place butter-braised leeks on top and drained julienne of apples. Spoon hot brown butter over dish. Place a small quantity of pea sprout on top.


Veal sweetbreads, maitake, butter braised leeks, Granny Smith