Cauliflower Stuffed with Sweetbreads & Mulard Duck with Broccoli Flowerets & Broccoli Cream Sauce

Jean-Louis Palladin, Fred J. Maroon, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons - February 19th, 2014

The first course from Jean-Louis Palladin's Spring Menu in Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons.

Makes 4 servings

  • 3 oz. veal sweetbreads
  • cool water for soaking
  • 1 1/2 cups meat or vegetable consommé
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 3 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 7 oz. boneless, skinned mulard duck, trimmed
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 12 cauliflower flowerets, each about 2” tall and 2 1/2" wide
  • salt water (1/4 cup coarse salt mixed with 3 qts. water) for blanching vegetables
  • ice bath
  • 28 broccoli flowerets, each about 1 1/2" tall and 1 1/2" wide
  • 2 Tbsps. carrots, peeled and cubed (1/8")
  • 2 Tbsps. turnips, peeled and cubed (1/8")
  • 2 Tbsps. celery, scraped and cubed (1/8")
  • 2 Tbsps. zucchini skin, cubed (1/8")
  • olive oil, for greasing cookie sheet

To prepare the sweetbreads:

Trim away any large chunks of fat from the sweetbreads. Cover with cool water and soak for 10 minutes; drain. Cover with fresh water and soak another 10 minutes; drain. Cover a third time and refrigerate overnight.

Stuffed cauliflower:

Heat oven to 400˚F. For stuffing, poach the sweetbreads as follows: Drain sweetbreads and place in a small pot with the consommé, thyme sprigs, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer sweetbreads to a plate and set aside. Strain the poaching liquid; cover and refrigerate.

When sweetbreads are cool enough to handle, gently pull off and discard any bits of fat and most of the membrane surrounding them, leaving just enough attached to hold sweetbreads together. Cut sweetbreads into 1/8" cubes; cover and refrigerate.

Cut just enough of the duck into 1/8" cubes to yield 1/2 cup. Coarsely chop the remaining duck; set aside. Season the 1/2 cup duck cubes with salt and pepper. Heat a small nonstick skillet over high heat (about 2 minutes). Add the oil, heat about 30 seconds, then add the duck cubes, and cook for just 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the reserved, coarsely chopped duck with a generous amount of salt and pepper and process until smooth; add the cream and continue processing just until well blended; do not overmix. Strain mixture through the strainer into a medium bowl, using the bottom of a sturdy ladle to force as much through as possible; it should yield about 1/2 cup. Add the duck cubes, sweetbread cubes, and the 1 tsp. thyme leaves to the bowl, mixing gently. Cover and refrigerate.

Trim the cauliflower flowerets into attractive round shapes that are about 1 1/2" tall and 2” wide; trim a thin slice from the side of each floweret so it will lie flat on its side. Bring the salt water to a rolling boil in a large nonreactive pot. Add the cauliflower and blanch until tender but still crisp, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice water to cool, reserving salt water. Drain on paper towels, reserving ice water.

Return salt water to a boil and blanch the broccoli until tender but still crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool in the ice water and drain on paper towels separate from the cauliflower; reserve salt water and ice water.

Return salt water to a boil; add the carrots, turnips, and celery, and blanch for 7 minutes, then add zucchini skin blanch for 1 minute more. Cool in the ice water and drain on paper towels separate from the other vegetables; discard salt water and ice water.

To finish the stuffing, finely chop 2 of the broccoli flowerets; add this chopped broccoli and the cubed vegetable mixtures to the reserved duck and sweetbread mixture, mixing well. Set aside the remaining broccoli and the cauliflower.

Now form a 1” ball of the stuffing to cook; taste for seasoning. To cook the stuffing ball, place it in a small greased baking pan and bake in the preheated oven until cooked through, about 7 minutes; once cool, taste and, if needed, add more salt and pepper to the remaining stuffing.

Separate the stuffing into 12 equal portions and form each into a ball. With the cauliflower flowerets on their sides, slice each horizontally almost all the way through with a sharp thin-bladed knife, being very careful not to actually detach the top section from the bottom; stuff each floweret with a ball of stuffing, gently opening each just wide enough to ease the stuffing inside. Set aside. (Refrigerate if prepared ahead.)

Broccoli cream sauce:

Makes 3/4 cup

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 14 reserved blanched broccoli flowerets
  • 2 Tbsps. reserved sweetbread poaching liquid
  • 2 tsps. parsley puree
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine cream and milk in a small pot and bring to a boil; remove from heat. Puree in a blender with broccoli, poaching liquid, and parsley puree until smooth; season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain sauce through the chinois, using the bottom of a sturdy ladle to force as much through as possible.

To serve:

Heat oven to 400˚F. If the stuffed cauliflower was made ahead and chilled, let sit at room temperature about 30 minutes; then place on a cookie sheet greased generously with olive oil and bake uncovered until the stuffing is cooked through and very lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Heat the serving plates in the oven the last 2 to 3 minutes. Once the stuffed cauliflower has finished cooking, serve immediately.

Meanwhile, reheat the sauce in a small, heavy, nonreactive saucepan; thin if needed with some of the sweetbreads’ poaching liquid. Also now reheat the reserved 12 broccoli flowerets in the remaining poaching liquid (do not overcook); drain on paper towels.

To serve: On each heated serving plate, arrange 3 stuffed cauliflower flowerets and 3 broccoli flowerets in a circle; spoon 2 to 3 Tbsps. sauce in the center of the plate.

Find more recipes from Palladin's Spring: Menu Two: