Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of calves and young beef animals. (The gland gradually disappears as the animal matures.) They are considered a delicacy and are often expensive. Sweetbreads are mild in flavor and delicate in texture.They are usually braised or breaded and sauteed in butter.

Before cooking, sweetbreads should be prepared according to the following procedure (see Figure 10.10):

1. Soak in several changes of cold water for several hours or overnight.This removes blood, which would darken the meat when cooked.

2. Blanch in simmering salted water for 10 minutes. Some chefs like to add a little lemon juice or vinegar to the water to preserve whiteness and make the meat firmer.

3. Refresh under cold water and peel off membranes and connective tissue.

4. Press between two trays, with a light weight on top, and refrigerate for several hours. If desired,wrap in cheesecloth before pressing,as shown in Figure 10.10.

5. Prepare for cooking:

• For braising, leave whole or cut into large dice.

• For breading and sauteing, split in half horizontally. Pass through Standard Breading Procedure or dredge in flour.

(b) After the sweetbread has been blanched, peel off the membrane.

(c) Wrap the sweetbreads in clean cheesecloth.

(b) After the sweetbread has been blanched, peel off the membrane.

280 Chapter 10 • Understanding Meats

Figure 10.10 Preparing sweetbreads.

(a) Raw sweetbreads.

(d) Tie the ends securely.

(e) Place in a hotel pan or other flat pan and top with another pan.

(c) Wrap the sweetbreads in clean cheesecloth.

(f) Place weights in the top pan and refrigerate for several hours.

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