EVERY TIME I AM IN MADRID I MAKE A BEELINE TO SEE JAIME. HE’S A GALICIAN GUY WHOSE KITCHEN IS A SMALL HOTBOX OF A GRILL ROOM WITH ONLY A PLANE OF GLASS SEPARATING HIM FROM THE STREET. IN THAT FLUORESCENT-LIT CHAMBER HE PERFORMS HIS NIGHTLY THEATRE OF COOKING OREJAS (PIG’S EARS) AND MOLLEJAS (SWEETBREADS) ON THE HOTPLATE. HE SERVES GOOD BEER AND ROUGH GALICIAN WINE POURED INTO WHITE CERAMIC BOWLS. HIS BAR IS QUITE AUSTERE, EXCEPT FOR THE SOUND OF FLAMENCO COMING FROM THE SPEAKERS — JAIME LOVES FLAMENCO! I LOVE HIS PIG’S EARS, MADE SOFT WITH HOURS OF COOKING AND VERY TASTY BY BEING MARINATED IN ADOBO — A MIX OF HERBS, GARLIC AND PIMENTÓN (SPANISH PAPRIKA). WHEN I SEE HIM I ASK THE SAME QUESTION: ‘¿TIENES OREJAS?’ (DO YOU HAVE EARS?). HE JUST FLAPS HIS EARS WITH HIS HANDS AND LAUGHS. HIS PIG’S EARS ARE HARD TO MAKE, SO INSTEAD I HAVE INCLUDED HIS RECIPE FOR SWEETBREADS — SMALL SAVOURY ADOBO-FLAVOURED BITES THAT ARE PERFECT WITH A GLASS OF BEER.
Drain the sweetbreads and trim off any scraggy bits. Place in a large saucepan with the onion halves, 2 garlic cloves, the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Cover with cold water and place over medium-high heat. Bring to just below the boil, then reduce the heat to low-medium and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow the sweetbreads to cool in the liquid.
Finely chop the remaining garlic cloves and place in a bowl with the paprika, olive oil, parsley, oregano, fennel seeds and sea salt. Mix well. Drain the cooled sweetbreads and gently stir them through the olive oil mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Heat a flat grill plate or heavy-based frying pan over high heat until very hot. Working in batches, cook the sweetbreads on one side for 1 minute. Season, then turn, season again and cook for another minute. Place on a warm serving plate and serve immediately.
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