Veal sweetbreads are one of the finest delicacies provided by the butcher and may be served for any meal, no matter how rich or sumptuous.
They should be selected very white, free from blood and should then be soaked in cold running water for as long as possible or at least in frequent changes of water.
The sweetbreads are then blanched, that is, placed in cold water, brought to the boil, simmered for a few minutes to firm the outside surfaces and then plunged into cold water.
When cold, trim them of all gristle and connective tissue, place between two clean cloths and lightly press them under weight for approximately 2 hours.
Now lard them with fine strips of salt pork fat, tongue or truffle according to the requirements of the way in which they are to be served. They may also be studded with tongue or truffle or simply braised as they are without larding or studding.
Veal sweetbreads are of two kinds, unequal in shape as in quality. They are the Noix (heart sweetbread) which is round and plump in shape and of superb quality and the Gorge (throat sweetbread) which is longer in shape and inferior in quality to the former.
As far as possible, for any special dinner of quality, only the Noix sweetbread should be served. According to requirements they may be braised, poached in white stock or grilled. For these methods of cooking see the braising of white meats and poaching and grilling at the beginning of this Chapter.