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Cumin-Dusted Sweetbreads

by in Mar 2011
Cumin-Dusted Sweetbreads
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Total Time: 30

Yield: 6 side-dish servings

With this dish, chef Sandy D'Amato can't help waxing into puns. "Don't let sweetbreads intimidate you--they're easy to work with and 'offal-ly' good," he quips. "For me, this dish was 'love at first bite.' When I paired them with sweet and woodsy spring peas, carrots, and morels, they became a lifetime commitment."

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Cumin-Dusted Sweetbreads
Photo/Art by Keller + Keller


  • 1-1/2 pounds sweetbreads
  • 3 tablespoons kosher or sea salt, plus extra to taste
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (approx.) ground cumin
  • Flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (clarified is best)
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh morels (or other edible wild mushrooms), cleaned, trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 2 large shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup freshly shucked peas, blanched 30 seconds, shocked in ice water, then drained
  • Lemon Oil
  • Glazed Carrots
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves


In a medium-size saucepan, add sweetbreads and cover by 3 inches with ice water. Soak 1 hour; then remove and set aside. Rinse pan; add more water, salt, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and blanch sweetbreads 3 minutes. Strain and place in ice-water bath; when cool, remove most of the outer membrane (not all; keep sweetbreads intact). Place on a dish and cover with a second dish; add 1- to 2-pound weight on top (a can of vegetables works well) and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, cut blanched sweetbreads into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place in milk. Remove sweetbreads, shake off excess milk, and season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Place in flour to coat; shake off excess.

Heat a large sauté pan on medium setting. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When oil is shimmering but not smoking, add sweetbreads in a single layer and saute until deeply golden, about 3-4 minutes; then turn and sauté the other side. Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining sweetbreads. Keep warm.

Wipe pan clean. Raise heat to high and add remaining butter and oil. Add mushrooms and shallots; season with salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes; mushrooms will release their juices, then absorb them. Add wine and cook until almost dry. Add blanched peas and heat through. Add sweetbreads and combine gently. Drizzle with Lemon Oil and top with Glazed Carrots. Garnish with mint.

Lemon Oil


  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 5/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


Reduce juice, zest, and cumin to 2 tablespoons liquid. Whisk together with oil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and whisk before using.

Glazed Carrots


  • 3 medium-size carrots, peeled, cut into batons 2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


In a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients except juice and cook until liquid is absorbed and carrots are tender. (If carrots aren't tender, add 2 more tablespoons water). Keep sauteing carrots until they color lightly. Add lemon juice, toss, and cook until dry.
Updated Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

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