To (morbidly) commemorate the 10-year anniversary since my mom's passing from pancreatic cancer, I made a chicken parmesan recipe(my mom made me this when I was a kid) except the chicken is replaced with veal sweetbreads(cow pancreas) and the breading is pistachio flour, as pistachio was my mom's favorite flavor of ice cream!
I can't believe it's been a full decade since my mom died from cancer. It almost seems like yesterday I was 2 months from graduating high school, sitting on the bed that came out of my living room couch watching Wheel of Fortune when my dad got the dreaded phone call that my mom died in the hospice facility she was staying in after only 2 days since being placed there. She was only 54.
My mom was the kindest, sweetest, most selfless person I've ever known. She advocated for me when I was in school.
I've eaten a lot of animal organs by this point on this channel to commemorate different times in my life:
The Chicago Cubs finally breaking their century-long curse and winning the World Series: Goat Meatloaf
To celebrate my top surgery: The Melon-Coated Chicken Breasts
To celebrate my hysterectomy and oophorectomy: The chocolate pig uterus and quail eggs
(Probably in 12-18 months from now)To celebrate my bottom surgery: Some sort of recipe involving bull penis and buffalo testicles. 😳
I think I've said enough about that by this point. Seriously, if Fear Factor was a matter of individuals playing and not pairs, I'd totally ace the eating weird shit portion. Anything with swimming or diving, not so much.
So what does sweetbread taste like, anyway? It has the consistency of scallops with a hint of sweetness to it. The way I cooked this recipe, it honestly looks like a breaded veal or chicken cutlet on the inside.
The great thing about this recipe is that if you screw up like I did and end up with broken pieces of sweetbread, you can put them back together with some egg and pistachio flour, which is both expensive($25 a pound) and very heavy.
This is an intermediate-level recipe, I'd say, but a pretty long one. It took me over 4 hours from start to finish, but that's par for the course when it comes to cooking offal, with most of that time being a matter of just soaking the organ(s) you plan to cook in some water to get rid of any bloody taste.
My dad is normally not into eating animal organs but he made and exception for this recipe since it's in honor of his late wife. He said it tasted cooked. Not very helpful but at least he didn't spit out the sweetbreads.
HELPFUL LINKS: Veal Sweetbreads: https://www.dartagnan.com/veal-sweetbreads/product/ZVEAFRA013-1.html?dwvar_ZVEAFRA013-1_freshFrozenWeight=frozen-ZVEAFRA013#q=sweetbread&start=1
Pistachio Flour: https://nuts.com/nuts/pistachios/flour.html
2 lbs. veal sweetbreads(see HELPFUL LINKS above)
Enough water to soak the sweetbreads
Enough water to submerge the sweetbreads for blanching
Bowl of cold water
3 beaten and whisked eggs
1 lb. pistachio flour(see HELPFUL LINKS above)
Olive oil for frying
15 oz. jar of pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Serve with garlic bread
For the preparation:
1. Soak the sweetbreads for at least 2 hours in water.
2. Take the soaked sweetbreads out of the water and into a large saucepot. Submerge the sweetbreads with water. Add white vinegar and salt. Combine all ingredients.
3. Bring the sweetbreads to a boil. Simmer the sweetbreads on low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the sweetbreads from the water and with tongs, place into a bowl of ice cold water. Let the sweetbreads soak in the water for 20 minutes, or you are able to touch them with bare hands without burning yourself.
5. To remove the membrane, pllace sweetbreads onto a plate and gently flatten the sweetbreads with another plate to place on top of them. If you end up breaking these fragile sweetbreads, you'll still be able to reconstruct them during the breading process.
For preparing breading stations:
1. Place 3 beaten and whisked eggs in a medium-size bowl.
2. Pour the pistachio flour into a large bowl.
3. Place a plate to the left of the medium-size bowl and another plate to the right of the large bowl.
For breading broken sweetbreads:
1.Grab a handful of broken sweetbreads and place them in the whisked eggs.
2. Transfer the egg-soaked sweetbreads into the flour and coat the egg in the flour. Pistachio flour is heavy enough that it will act as a glue.
3. Place the breaded sweetbreads to the adjacent plate and flatten them into a patty shape.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for all broken sweetbreads.
5. Cut each patty in half so transferring it to the frying pan is easier.
For breading intact sweetbreads:
1. Coat each sweetbread in the egg and then transfer it to the flour.
2. Coat each sweetbread in the flour and place onto the adjacent plate.
For frying the sweetbreads:
1. Pour olive oil into a frying pan and spread the oil throughout the pan.
2. Heat the oil up. Place the sweetbread patties into the pan.
3. Press down on each sweetbread, broken or intact, with the back of a spatula. Cook the sweetbreads for 30-60 seconds.
4. Flip the sweebreads over and cook for an additional 30-60 seconds on the other side.
1. Spray 2 lasagna pans with nonstick cooking spray. Place each fried sweetbread into the lasagna pans.
2. Coat all of the sweetbreads with pizza sauce.
3. Top the pizza sauce with the mozzarella and then the Parmesan.
4. Bake the sweetbreads in a 350℉ oven for 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese.
5. Serve with garlic bread.
1. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
2. To reheat the sweetbreads, place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 30 seconds.