Fred J. Maroon
Braised Sweetbreads Wrapped in Black Truffles from Jean-Louis Palladin.
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Braised Sweetbreads Wrapped in Black Truffles with Celeriac/Cream Sauce

Jean-Louis Palladin, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons - January/February 2014

Adapted from Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons by Jean-Louis Palladin.

"What an extraordinary thing is the truffle, the caviar of the forest! … [White truffles] have a completely different taste from the black and are more scarce. After one and a half months, their growing season is over, and although they can be canned, the fresh ones are much better. White truffles have a strong taste of garlic, and Monsieur [Jacques] Pebeyre taught me a trick: if you rub a little garlic on the knife when you cut a black truffle, it will enhance the flavor and make it taste more like a white one.

"I’ve been preparing an entire menu of truffle dishes for years now, and, needless to say, it is expensive. However, when I write “truffle” on my menu, I do not mean a thin, one-gram slice that is more decoration than substance; I mean that truffles are a major element of the dish. I want those people who enjoy truffles to really taste them and to savor what they have eaten."

For 4 servings (requires advance preparation)

Sweetbreads:

  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lbs. (680g to 793g) veal sweetbreads (large enough to cut out into 2 3/4" rounds)
  • 3 Tbsps. (42g) canola oil 1 cup (128g) carrots, unpeeled, chopped 1/2 cup (80g) onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (65g) turnip, unpeeled, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (51g) celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (45g) leek, white part only, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (3g) shallot, chopped
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. (6g) fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. (5g) whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup (117ml) Chardonnay
  1. Trim and discard any large pieces of fat from sweetbreads; place sweetbreads in a bowl; add cool water to cover; let stand 10 minutes; drain; repeat; add cool water to cover; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator overnight; drain sweetbreads; reserve.

  2. Heat oven to 375°F.

  3. Heat oil in large roasting pan set over high heat; add carrots, onion, turnip, celery, leek, shallot, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables have softened and start to brown (about 10 minutes); add wine; cook, stirring, 3 minutes.

  4. Mound vegetables in center of pan; arrange sweetbreads on top; roast in oven 10 minutes; check smaller pieces for doneness (to test, cut 1" slit into sweetbreads; done pieces will be very pale pink to cream colored at the thickest part); remove any done pieces from oven; place on a plate; turn remaining sweetbreads in pan over; cover pan with aluminum foil; bake until all sweetbreads are done (about 10 minutes); place sweetbreads on plate; let cool slightly; reserve roasting pan (do not scrape or drain).

  5. When sweetbreads are cool enough to handle, gently pull off any fat and most of surrounding membrane (leave just enough attached to keep sweetbreads together); reserve fat and trimmings.

  6. Cut sweetbreads into four rounds with 2 3/4"-diameter cutter; trim 1/2" to 1" thick; reserve all trimmings; envelop rounds in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsps. (36g) coarse salt
  • 2 cups (470ml) veal or vegetable consommé or stock
  • 1/2 cup (117ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsps. (30ml) lemon juice
  • 1 cup (156g) celeriac, coarsely chopped
  • fine sea salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup (117ml) braising liquid
  1. Mix 1 Tbsp. coarse salt and 3 cups (705ml) water in a bowl.

  2. Heat consommé and reserved trimmings from sweetbreads in reserved roasting pan; set over medium heat; cook, stirring occasionally and skimming surface, until liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup (15 to 20 minutes); remove from heat; strain through fine chinois, pressing on solids with a ladle; skim fat from surface; cover in airtight container; reserve in refrigerator.

  3. Bring cream to a boil in small pot; remove from heat.

  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. coarse salt and lemon juice in medium-size nonreactive pot; add celery root; sauté gently until tender (about 30 minutes); puree; season; add scalded cream and braising liquid; continue pureeing until well blended; strain through fine chinois (should yield 3/4 cup); season; cover in airtight container; reserve in refrigerator.

Assembly:

  • 4 1/2 oz. (128g) flash-frozen black truffles, thawed and thinly sliced
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1 tsp. (5ml) canola oil
  • 1/8 tsp. (.75g) salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsps. (43g) unsalted butter
  1. Cut 3 truffle slices into 1/8"-thick julienne; envelop in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator.

  2. Mince remaining truffle slices; place in a bowl; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

  3. Whisk eggs, oil, and salt in a bowl; season with pepper; place flour in a shallow bowl; season sweetbreads; working one at a time, dredge sweetbread rounds in flour, shaking off excess; dip in egg mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl; place in bowl with minced truffles, pressing to adhere; place on a plate; cover with plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator 2 to 4 hours.

  4. Heat oven to 350°.

  5. Heat butter in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet set over low heat; working in batches, cook sweetbread rounds until breading on bottom begins to solidify (about 3 minutes); carefully flip; cook 3 minutes; bake in oven until heated through (about 8 minutes); remove from oven; reserve (keep warm).

  6. To serve, heat reserved sauce in a saucepan set over medium heat; cut sweetbread rounds in half; arrange halves on center of warm serving plates; spoon 2 Tbsps. sauce between halves; garnish with julienned truffles.

What to drink: Joseph Drouhin Chambertin-Clos de Béze Grand Cru 2009