This dish is made interesting by contrasts. It is, substantially, a sandwich of firmly braised sweetbread between crisp potato galettes. The flavours are a balance of balsamic vinegar, caramelised shallots, and good olive oil. No one flavour should predominate, and balsamic vinegar, especially a really good old one, will sharpen and enhance the delicate flavour of sweetbreads without upstaging it.
It is not difficult to make but I recommend that you prepare the stock a day or two in advance. Though it is not labour intensive, it takes time.
I have heard many wild and weird stories about what sweetbreads may be. They are in fact glands near the base of the throat, and they perform tasks a lot pleasanter than do the kidneys and liver. I cannot understand why anyone should be timid about eating them. This recipe is as good an introduction as any if you haven’t cooked them before.
© 1990 Shaun Hill. All rights reserved.