Sweetbreads are at the top of my list when it comes to offal. They don’t have a particularly strong flavour but add richness and a wonderful texture to any dish. They are a little bit of work, with the pre-poaching and peeling of the outer membrane, but ‘hand on heart’ they are soooo worth it! Order your veal sweetbreads from your local butcher as I doubt the local supermarket will carry these delicious morsels.
Step 1: Poaching Sweatbreads
Place the sweetbreads in a deep container, and cover with cold water. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water periodically.
To prepare, place the litre of water, bay leaf, peppercorns, sliced lemon, diced vegetables and salt in a large saucepan. Bring up to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the sweetbreads to the boiling water and cook for a further 3 to 5 minutes until firm. Strain the sweetbreads from the hot liquid and cool. Discard the cooking liquid and vegetables. Peel and remove as much of the membrane from the sweetbreads as possible. Refrigerate until required.
Step 2: Celeriac Remoulade
In a mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, chopped preserved lemon skin and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Using a mandolin slicer, or a sharp knife, cut the celeriac into matchstick thin strips. Mix the mayonnaise and celeriac together in the mixing bowl, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice to cut the richness if necessary. Refrigerate until required.
Step 3: Cooking and Serving
Preheat a large skillet to medium/high heat.
Season the poached sweetbreads with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a mixing bowl, then toss the sweetbreads in the flour until lightly coated. Remove and shake off excess flour.
Pour a little canola oil into the hot skillet and sauté sweetbreads for 3 or 4 minutes each side until golden and crispy. Add in the capers, sage and butter. Continue to cook for 3 minutes until the capers pop, the sage leaves crisp up a bit, and the butter becomes nutty. Remove from the heat.
Lay some celeriac remoulade down on your serving plates, along with a few inner celery and parsley leaves. Top with sautéed sweetbreads and a spoonful of capers and sage. Finish each dish with a squeeze of lemon.
Photography by Kieran Scott