Sarah Pliner's (Aviary restaurant in Portland) recipe for pan-fried sweetbreads with pickled cherries, daylilies, and water chestnut gremolata.
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Pan-Fried Sweetbreads with Pickled Cherries, Daylilies & Water Chestnut Gremolata

Sarah Pliner, Aviary, Portland, Oregon - August 30th, 2013

Serves 4


  • 8 cups court bouillion
  • 1 lb. veal sweetbreads
  • 2 Tbsps. grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  1. Bring court bouillon to a boil in medium-sized pot; add sweetbreads; turn off heat; let come to room temperature (sweetbreads should be done); let cool.

  2. Clean any membranes from sweetbread; reserve in court bullion.

  3. To cook, heat grapeseed oil in sauté pan; dredge sweetbreads in cornstarch and gently place into sauté pan; add butter; cook until golden brown on all sides; drain on paper towels.

Pickled cherries:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 black cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 lb. pitted Bing cherries
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract

Bring red wine vinegar, sugar, water, cardamom pods, black pepper corns, and salt to a boil in a pot; reduce by half; cool; strain out cardamom pods and black peppercorns; let cool; add cherries and almond extract.

Daylily puree:

  • 1 sm. yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups daylilies
  • 2 Tbsps. butter

Sweat onion, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, grapeseed oil, and salt in a sauté pan; when onions are softened, add daylilies and wilt, stirring constantly; add butter; puree; pass through a chinois.

Water chestnut gremolata:

  • 10 water chestnuts, peeled and cut into brunoise
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Combine all ingredients.

Daylily sauté:

  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 12 daylilies, split
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Heat oil in a wok until just smoking; place the lilies cut-side down, season with salt and pepper; cook on one side until they begin to color and wilt.


Streak one side of the plate with daylily puree; place sweetbreads on top with water chestnut gremolata. Arrange pickled cherries and sautéed daylilies on other side of plate.