All organ meats should be really fresh. You want to take them home and
ideally cook them the same day your butcher puts them out.
Sweetbreads take a bit of preparation time. It can be either calf thymus,
(calf's sweetbreads), or beef pancreas. I suppose it could also be calf
pancreas, too. Soak them in really cold water, changing every 20 min or so,
for an hour. Then peel whatever you can of the capsule surrounding the
sweetbreads. Next simmer them for about 20 min, in water with a little
lemon juice, and a bay leaf if you like. Remove, rinse in cold water,
remove any more membrane (but don't get too obsessive about this), and they
are ready to use in any recipe you might like. My favorite is slice about
the width of a finger (use a sharp knife), and sauté gently with olive oil,
mushrooms, and a few chopped shallots. They are also good sliced and
broiled, say brushed with olive oil. Maybe 8 to 10 minutes per side, about
6" from the heat. Lemon juice squeezed over them at serving hits the spot.
They can be baked, too. Almost anything after the initial cleaning and
Kidneys are different, here the problem is controlling the production of an
ammonia smell, that pretty well kills the appetite. Best are calf's or
lamb's kidneys, and most of ours in the past have been lamb, that a local
woman would give me for helping her butcher them. With these, if they smell
really good, I just trim off the fat and white gristle, slice 1/2" or so
thick, or cube, and grill over charcoal. (The cube on a skewer with onion,
green pepper, and tomato.) The secret here is really hot, and not too long.
If the calf is closer to a beef, or the lamb a sheep, slice and soak for a
couple of hours in milk (in the fridge), pat dry, then grill or fry in hot
olive oil for a short time. The difficulty is that water may start to cook
out, and they can get tough. This is usually a sign that the oil wasn't hot
enough. Also, any marinade that you like (and fits your diet can be used).
The milk is more of a pre-treatment.
From: Michael (mrbuji at WHIDBEY.NET)
Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 1003961