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Basque style Sweetbreads, the easiest technique ever!

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

OKAY!! You’re going to want to pay attention here. A new favorite recipe for sweetbreads. What is a sweetbread you ask? Well, let's start by telling you what they are not… They are not little sugary, carb loaded baked goodies. They in fact are not really sweet at all, yet one might say sweeter than liver or other organ meats. Sweetbreads are in fact the Thymus gland of a calf. All animals including you have a thymus gland, however the ones that come from grass fed calves are the best. They are incredibly rich and creamy, they have a sensationally delicate texture to them and are succulent little morsels of goodness. I love sweetbreads! I have been a fan of sweetbreads all of my culinary career, ever since I first had them sauteed in butter with roasted artichokes and black truffle at La Scuola in Castroville. I have had them served in a variety of ways, in several final renditions but always with the same basic base preparation. I was taught to always poach the sweetbreads in a court bouillon, then chill them, clean and separate to remove the connective membranes. Others I know soak them in milk before poaching. From there you can bread and fry, dredge and saute, pan sear, whatever, go crazy. That said, over the last few months a wonderful regular of The Meatery has come in to buy our sweetbreads, boasting they are the best she has ever purchased and I would have to agree. These are the same sweetbreads that I have sourced for the last 6 years, because they are amazing. She told me of her trip to the Basque country of France, where she had grilled sweetbreads for the first time and she fell in love. Having found our sweetbreads she has worked to recreate these decadent grilled morsels and swears by them. After the second time she made the purchase I had to ask what her secret was. Basically she said, “no secret, marinate for 15 minutes and grill ‘em!” So that is what I did.. Check out this recipe and don’t miss out on one of the most delicious, simplest recipes you’ll ever make! And yes, I have more sweetbreads in the butcher’s case.

See ya at the counter!


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