Sweetbreads - what to expect?

So - I have been wanting to try sweetbreads (yep, made it past 50 and still haven't had them!) - we are going to a fancy-pants restaurant next week that serves them and I am contemplating ordering, but I honestly don't know what I am even looking for in terms of taste and texture. How does one know a good sweetbread? What do they taste like, what is their texture, and should I go with braised duck ravioli instead :-) ???

  • Posted by: aargersi
  • February 16, 2015


QueenSashy February 17, 2015
GO for it!
LeBec F. February 17, 2015
Amazingly versatile, sweetbreads are SOMEwhat similar to white meat chicken or scallops in Texture. It just came to me that they taste a little like white meat chicken tinged with oyster. But maybe you will have them and decide i'm crazy! Inside, they should be creamy, not spongey or chewy. Anyway, alot more work than duck for the chef- so go for it and see how talented is the kitchen there! If you like them and you ever think of taking a vacation to Montreal&Quebec, they are VERY popular there, and
you wil find them prepared in many different ways.
p.s. BTW, i am not an offal eater; brains and chittlins are not for me; but i love the mild intriguing sweetbreads!
Maedl February 16, 2015
Yes, do try them. It has been years since I had sweetbreads, but I remember them as delicate tasting, crisp on the exterior with a soft interior. They were served as part of a multi-course menu and I was a bit reluctant, but decided I really liked them. Unlike tripe. I tried that this past fall and will be quite happy if I never find another piece of it on my plate again.
ChezHenry February 16, 2015
You're taking the right approach-certain items should only be eaten at "fancy pants" restaurants that understand, appreciate and have much experience in them. Sweetbreads are one. They are delicious, but I will only eat them at a fine restaurant (brains is another for me). Mild in flavor, pillowy little cushions of love. There are actually a couple of different organs labeled "sweetbreads", but a high end restaurant will utilize the best cut, prepared properly. Go for it!
drshakyhands February 16, 2015
I agree that sweetbreads are delicious and well worth taking a risk on to find out if you like them or not. I've never had them as a main course before, generally as an appetizer or small plate, and I have tried both from sheep and veal and both are equally delicious. I personally like it when they are pan-fried a bit to crisp up the outside but leaving the inside sort of soft and delicate. I also think they are worth the try if you see them in a quality restaurant, because like foie gras, it's not something you'll see me tackling in my own kitchen!
Greenstuff February 16, 2015
I love sweetbreads and have a hard time passing them up whenever I see them on a menu. You should give them a try before you hit 60 or 70! Duck ravioli will always be there.

That said, they're pretty hard to describe--mild and amorphous (as in having no strings). Looking for help with decscriptive sweetbread vocabulary, I found this article in Serious Eats. It's a pretty good decription http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/06/the-nasty-bits-sweetbreads.html
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