Salt and pepper veal sweetbreads

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

"I'd love to recreate Master's sweetbreads."
Karl Davies, Collaroy, NSW

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  • 30 gm fine sea salt
  • 300 gm veal sweetbreads (see note)
  • 50 gm (1/3 cup) each plain flour and rice flour
  • For deep-frying: sunflower or grapeseed oil
  • 8 spring onions (white and pale green parts only)
  • 20 (8gm) dried birdseye chillies
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 10 gm ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 30 gm unsalted butter
  • To serve: chilli sauce (preferably Koon Yick Wah Kee)
  •  
  • Court bouillon
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 onion, halved
  • ½ each carrot and celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 6 parsley stalks
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  •  
  • Salt and pepper mix
  • 1 tsp each fine salt and chicken booster or chicken stock powder
  • ½ tsp each freshly cracked black pepper and freshly ground Sichuan pepper
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
01   Stir salt and 300ml water in a large saucepan over high heat until salt dissolves (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and cool over ice (8-10 minutes), then combine in a container with sweetbreads and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse and pat sweetbreads dry with paper towels.
02   For court bouillon, bring ingredients and 2½ litres water to the boil, then set aside to infuse for 1 hour. Strain, discarding solids, and return bouillon to saucepan and heat to 60C (5-6 minutes). Add sweetbreads, bring back to 60C, then turn heat to very low and maintain exact temperature for 1 hour, adding water if it rises above 60C. Drain, peel membranes off sweetbreads and separate them into 2cm-3cm pieces by pinching where sweetbread lobes naturally segment. Cover and refrigerate to chill.
03   For salt and pepper mix, combine ingredients in a bowl.
04   Dredge sweetbreads in combined flours, then place on a tray lined with baking paper, cover and refrigerate (at least 2 hours but preferably overnight) to dry.
05   Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 180C. Dust sweetbreads in flours again, shaking off excess, then deep-fry in batches, turning gently, until golden brown (4-5 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper mix to taste.
06   Heat a wok over high heat, add 2 tbsp oil and spring onions and fry on one side until golden (30 seconds to 1 minute), then add chilli, ginger and garlic and stir-fry until garlic starts to turn golden (30 seconds). Add sweetbreads and butter, and stir-fry until butter turns golden and starts to smell nutty (20-30 seconds). Drain and serve with chilli sauce.

Note Sweetbreads are available from select butchers and need to be ordered ahead. The restaurant cooks the sweetbreads sous-vide; we've adapted the recipe for home kitchens. Start this recipe at least a day ahead to brine the sweetbreads.

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