Veal Sweetbreads with Cauliflower and Tarragon Dressing

Veal sweetbreads with roasted cauliflower puree and pickled cauliflower, tarragon & shallot dressing. Combining the buttery richness of veal sweetbreads, creamy roasted cauliflower puree, sweet acidity of the pickles and a sharp dressing, this recipe hits all the right notes and is a joy to eat. 

  • 500g Veal sweetbreads
  • 25g fennel seeds
  • 50g plain flour
  • 800ml milk
  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 100g butter
  • 150ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 star anise
  • 150ml sugar
  • 50g tarragon
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 100g finely diced shallot

Veal Sweetbreads

For the sweetbreads

Soak the sweetbreads in 400ml of the milk overnight in the fridge, this helps to draw out some of the excess blood. Bring a small pan of salted water to boil, add the drained sweetbreads and simmer on a low heat for 4-5 minutes. Keep moving occasionally with a spoon to ensure even cooking. Drain and leave to cool. Once cooled the outer membrane of the sweetbread needs to be removed, using a small knife to help you do this. Simply pull the excess from the sweetbread until it has no sinew left and the sweetbread is nice and clean, slice the sweetbread lengthwise in half. Blitz the fennel seed with the flour and a pinch of salt. Roll the sweetbreads in the fennel seed flour and fry in a hot pan with a little oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and add 50g of the butter, baste the sweetbreads with the foaming butter until golden brown. Remove from the pan and onto a kitchen towel.


Veal Sweetbreads

For the roasted cauliflower puree

Finely chop half the cauliflower, along with the root, and fry in a pan with 50g of butter on a medium heat until the cauliflower is slightly more than golden brown, but not quite burnt. Add the remaining 400ml of milk and simmer on a low heat until the cauliflower is falling apart. Transfer to a blander and blitz for 4-5 minutes until the puree is silky smooth, seasoning to taste.

For the pickled cauliflower

Thinly slice the remaining cauliflower as thin as possible using a Japanese mandolin or sharp knife and set aside. In a saucepan bring to the boil the sugar, vinegar, star anise and 150ml of water. Once boiled pour the hot pickle liquor over the sliced cauliflower and leave to pickle for at least 4 hours.

For the tarragon and shallot dressing

Blanche the tarragon in seasoned water for 60 seconds. Chill the cooked tarragon in a bath of ice and water, making sure to squeeze out any excess water before transferring to a blender. Add the olive oil and blitz on a high speed for 2-3 minutes. Pour the oil through muslin cloth and leave to hang for an hour or so until all the oil has passed through. Add the oil to the finely diced shallots and season to taste.

To eat 

Assemble your dish components and devour! 

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