Michael Persico

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Lamb Neck & Sweetbreads with Yeasted Grits, Ramps & Mustard Flower Pistou

Will BYOB, Philadelphia, Christopher Kearse - September 2014

For 4 servings (requires advance preparation)

Pickled ramp bulbs:

  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (117ml) Champagne vinegar
  • 2 lbs. (907g) ramp bulbs
  1. Bring salt, sugar, vinegar, and 1/4 cup (59ml) water to a boil; remove from heat; cool.

  2. Place ramps and pickling liquid in a vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; vacuum seal; pickle at least 1 day.

Lamb neck:

  • 1 1/4 cups (187g) onions, cut into sm. dice
  • 1 cup (150g) celery, cut into sm. dice
  • 3/4 cup (112g) carrots, cut into sm. dice
  • 2/3 cup (200g) sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lamb necks, deboned
  • Activa RM
  • thyme
  • garlic oil
  1. Bring onions, celery, carrots, salt, sugar, bouquet garni, garlic, and 2L water to a boil in large saucepan; reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes; remove from heat; place in large bowl in ice water bath; cool.

  2. Place lamb in hotel pan; add brine; cover; refrigerate 24 hours.

  3. Remove lamb from brine; rinse; pat dry; place 1 neck on baking sheet; sprinkle with Activa RM; place other neck on top; place another baking sheet on top; weight with 10 lbs.; refrigerate 6 hours.

  4. Remove lamb necks from baking sheet; place in vacuum-sealable plastic bag; add thyme and garlic oil; vacuum seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water bath at 65°C (150°F), 36 hours; remove from water bath; cool 30 minutes; place in ice water bath; cool completely; slice into 4 100g (3.5 oz.) portions; reserve jus.

Mustard flower pesto:

  • 2 cups (400g) mustard flowers
  • 7 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. (110ml) grapeseed oil
  • 1 clove garlic, roasted

Place mustard flowers, oil, and garlic in a blender; blend until smooth; reserve.

Lamb sweetbreads:

  • whole milk
  • 1 lb. (456g) lamb sweetbreads, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup (50g) onion, cut into medium dice
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. (20g) garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup plus 4 tsps. (196ml) vermouth
  • 1 1/4 cups (297ml) white veal stock
  • thyme
  • 1 tsp. (5g) orange zest
  • salt
  • 1 2/3 cups (200g) Wondra flour
  • 2 Tbsps. (30g) unsalted butter
  1. Place milk and sweetbreads in large bowl (sweetbreads should be submerged); cover; refrigerate, changing milk as needed, 8 hours; drain; rinse sweetbreads; pat dry.

  2. Heat a skillet set over medium-high heat; cook sweetbreads until golden; flip; cook on other side until golden (keep sweetbreads raw in the center); remove sweetbreads from pan; add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent (should not take on any color); add vermouth; bring to a boil; cook until pan is dry; add stock, thyme, and zest; bring to a boil; season; cool; remove from heat; strain through fine chinois into clean bowl.

  3. Place liquid and sweetbreads in vacuum-sealable plastic food bag; vacuum seal; cook sous-vide, maintaining water bath at 60°C (140°F), 40 minutes; shock in ice water bath; remove from water bath; remove from bag; cut sweetbreads into 55g (2 oz.) portions; season; place flour in shallow bowl; dredge sweetbreads; heat butter in sauté pan set over medium-high heat; add sweetbreads; cook, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown; remove from heat; reserve.


  • 4 1/4 cups (1L) whole milk
  • .6 oz. (20g) fresh yeast
  • 6 1/2 Tbsps. (98ml) buttermilk
  • 1 cup (150g) Anson Mills grits
  • salt
  • 7 Tbsps. (100g) unsalted butter
  • nasturtium leaves
  1. Heat 2 cups plus 2 1/4 tsps. milk in a saucepan to 95°F; remove from heat; crumble yeast over; let stand 4 hours; add buttermilk and remaining milk; bring to a boil; whisk in grits; reduce heat; cook, stirring frequently, 3 hours; season; whisk in butter; remove from heat; reserve (keep warm).

  2. To serve, heat lamb neck and lamb jus from the bag in a saucepan until warmed through; spoon grits into the center of each plate; place neck on top; arrange sweetbreads around neck; garnish with ramps, pesto, and nasturtium leaves.

What to drink: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Bam Bière or a young Rioja