I recently made a mid-year’s resolution to try foods that I have previously been too chicken (heh) to try. Whether it’s organ meats or entire fish or things that I feel on a primal level shouldn’t be eaten—I’m going to do my best to go for it. (I’m not talking about rocks or pants or lipstick or anything—actual food.)
So it was in that spirit that I found myself perusing the menu at Cashion’s. I was enjoying a delicious cocktail, made by the adorable K-Man, of Hendrick’s gin, shaved lemon zest, and a whole apricot (which I’m generally not a fan of, but it worked in the garnish capacity), chatting with Wee Kate, and deciding what to eat. Cashion’s has an excellent menu that changes fairly often, so it’s always worth reading. But there’s one constant under “Starters” that I’ve always avoided.
For years I, like many others, labored under the delusion that “sweetbreads” is just a nice way of saying “brains.” (The way of saying brains is “brains”.) This is not true. Sweetbreads are actually thymus glands, usually from cows, pigs, or lambs. (And if that doesn’t make you want to just run right out and try them, I don’t know what will!) However, Roland and Andy have eaten them many times and declared them delicious, so I decided to go for it.
After getting some assurance from the K-Man that they were indeed wonderful, I took the plunge. The sweetbreads themselves are veal, and they’re gently fried until just golden. They come on a bed of sautéed spinach with currants, pine nuts, and apples. The meat is dense and not particularly gamey, which for some reason I was expecting. It didn’t fall apart in my mouth the way chicken livers do. Just very savory, with a kind of creamy density balanced a nice light fried crispiness on the outside. The combination of that with the salty spinach, sweet currants, and pine nuts had me doing my happy food dance on my barstool. Wee Kate did try a small piece, bless her heart, and did not seem utterly repelled.
Oh, and the sweetbreads were paired with a Domaine Pascal Berthier Saint-Amour Beaujelais, lightly chilled. Perfect.
So Self-Dare #1 turned out pretty well. Next up: bone marrow.