Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to find things that fry well.
Let's face it. Anything can be fried. Believe me, anything. But what is actually amazing when dunked into a giant vat of 350 degree oil? Most items come out greasy, saturated, and nothing near as honest and flavorful as their former selves. What food item actually improves with frying? Hmmmm.... What about...
That's right. Sweetbreads. Thymus or neck gland of veal (baby cow) or lamb typically. Definitely a thing of beauty, and most certainly something that fries well.
To make crispy delicious fried sweetbread:
1. Obtain sweetbreads. Not an easy thing to find these days. You will sometimes happen upon them at a good butcher shop, but chances are slim. But instead of going through all that hassle, why don't you just order them here - D'Artagnan. They're cheap. Just do it.
2. Be sure to give them a good wash, or if you want to get really intense, soak them overnight in milk to draw out any remaining blood.
3. Peel all the outer membrane and connective tissues off the the sweetbreads. Otherwise you'll end up with chewy snotty blech all over your crispy delicious goodness.
4. At the restaurant, we enable a bit of technology at this point and sprinkle our glands with a little transglutaminase or meat glue. This stuff is a powdered enzyme that first eats away at proteins and then chemically bonds them again. Never effects the flavor. Rarely effects texture. Very cool.
5. Roll said sweetbreads into a tight log and reinforce this shape with the help of tightly pulled plastic wrap. We cryovac ours for even more insurance.
6. Poach in water that's just below a simmer for about 5 minutes.
*To avoid all those annoying complications, skip steps 4-6 and simply poach your peeled sweetbreads in a gently simmering pot of herbs, white wine, garlic, peppercorns, salt, and water for 2.5 minutes. Easy does it.
Plunge the sweetbreads into icy water and allow to cool thoroughly.
Slice with a sharp knife. Or a dull one... but don't expect good results.
At this point you can bread and fry these things however your little heart desires. A seasoned egg mixture and flour will work. We like to dip them gently into a tempura batter, and then into panko. Deep fry at 375, or in a hot pan with lots of butter. Hey, I didn't say this was a healthy dish.
You'll be left with a crunchy disk of rich flavorful sweetbread. What you choose to do with it is up to you. Eat them on their own. Set them atop a nicely dressed salad. Package them like girl scout cookies and sell them to unsuspecting customers. It's your call.
Here at the Inn, we fill a big bowl with dashi, udon noodles, vegetables and bok choy. On top of all that, we stick a little duck breast and a slow poached egg for good measure. Top it off with those UFOs of crispy joy and you're all set. Eat up - your udon is getting cold.
Mission accomplished friends. Mission accomplished.
Stay tuned for other things that fry well.
Over and out,