Offal seems to be gaining more mainstream acclaim every year. Lori Fredrich of Burp Blog, #MKEFoodies, and OnMilwaukee.com wrote a nice article last fall about Milwaukee area restaurants offering more offal as diners become more adventurous. While we are not likely to see tripe puttanesca at Olive Garden or Duck Fries with dippin’ sauce at Applebee’s, it is encouraging to see more people trying offal.
If you are new to trying offal, I’d probably start with something like veal sweetbreads. These are creamy, mild, and delicious and take to a variety of preparation methods from grilling to deep frying. Recently I made these panko crusted sweetbreads with preserved orange and cumin mayo and home-pickled jalapenos. They were simple and turned out awesome. I served them with some grilled Brussels sprouts.
Crispy Sweetbreads, Pickled Jalapeno, Preserved Orange & Coriander Mayo
1 lb of veal sweetbreads
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt or cajun seasoning
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons of water
1/2 cup of Preserved Orange & Coriander Mayo (recipe follows)
Pickled jalapenos or sweet peppers (link to recipe follows)
Preparing the sweetbreads
Get a pot of boiling, salted water going on the stove and prepare your breading station by having three bowls set up. The first bowl will have flour the second has a beaten egg with a little bit of water and the last will have the panko breadcrumbs with the seasoned salt or cajun seasoning.
You’ll want to get your sweetbreads started a day before you want to make these. Take the sweetbreads and put them in a container covered with water and let them sit in there for a few hours. After a few hours drain the water out and replace with new water. You’ll probably want to do at least 2 changes of water. This helps get rid of impurities and firms them up a bit, making them easier to work with. Here is a nice tutorial on how to prepare them (I skip the pressing step)
Blanch the sweetbreads in boiling water with salt. I like mine on the softer side so I’ll do maybe 2-3 minutes then drain them and put in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Peel apart the sweetbreads into individual pieces discarding the membrane holding them together. Pat them dry and then dip each one in the flour, egg wash, and then panko crumbs.
Deep fry or pan fry the sweetbreads at 350 until they are golden brown, probably 3-5 minutes and drain on a paper towel.
Top with the mayonnaise (recipe follows) and the pickled jalapenos (link to recipe follows)
Preserved Orange & Coriander Mayo
Mix together the following:
1 tablespoon of rinsed, finely chopped preserved oranges (here is a nice recipe, I add pink peppercorns, coriander and cumin seeds to the jar.)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, toasted and crushed with a mortar and pestle (or you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander)
Pickled Jalapenos (or sweet peppers if you don’t like heat)
I use Micheal Symon’s recipe from Live to Cook This recipe is the only way I have made pickled peppers the last two years because it’s so good.