Veal Sweetbreads in a Cream Sauce

In Charleston you often see recipes for sweetbreads teamed with oysters and puff pastry (“patty shells”)—too much gilding the lily for my taste. This is a simpler recipe.


  • 2 pairs of veal sweetbreads
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 scallions, chopped (about l/4 cup)
  • ¼ cup amontillado sherry or Madeira
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) cream


Soak the sweetbreads in cold water in the refrigerator for an hour to clean them. Drain the water from the sweetbreads, then put them in a saucepan, cover with fresh water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Prepare another bowl of cold water, adding a few drops of the lemon juice. Remove the sweetbreads from the simmering water, drain, and plunge into the cold water.

When cooled, remove the fat, the tubes, and the membranes that surround each sweetbread. Slice into ½-inch slices. Season with salt and pepper, then sauté the sweetbreads in the butter over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add the scallions and sherry or Madeira and simmer for 15 minutes.

Mix the egg yolks, cream, and remaining lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in the egg yolk mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan and swirling the pan around in a circular motion so that everything is coated evenly with the sauce. Serve immediately over toast points, with asparagus.