Kidneys oozing blood are a little too rare for the British taste, but veal or lambs’ kidneys should only be rapidly but lightly cooked, brown outside and a rosy pink within. Cook them too long and they will be tough and dry. The exception to this rule is ox kidney, which is the preferred one for use with steak in a pie or pudding, when long slow cooking is needed to produce a succulent texture.
First make the olive oil toasts: preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Brush the bread with olive oil, put on a baking tray and bake until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Reserve.
While they are in the oven, skin the kidneys and cut them in half lengthwise. With sharp scissors, snip out their cores and primary tubes, then toss them in heavily peppered seasoned flour to coat lightly, shaking off any excess.
Melt the butter with the oil in a heavy frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the kidneys, stirring and tossing, for 2–3 minutes, then transfer to a colander to drain.
Add some more oil and butter to the pan if needed and fry the chopped shallots over a moderate heat until just softened and translucent. If you like, you can add some brandy, shake and ignite carefully.
Add the wine and stock and reduce by half at a rapid boil. Stir in the cream and the mustard. Return the kidneys and stir all together to heat through very gently for 2 minutes. Do not allow it to boil again or the kidneys will toughen and the mustard become bitter.
Serve at once on the olive oil toasts, scattered with lots of chopped parsley.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.