These days, you don’t come across them much, but apparently they were very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries.
And who came up with a name like “sweetbreads” for what is really a gland and is considered offal.
Well, compared to the savoury flavour of the muscle meat, these morsels have a sweetness to them, and “bread” could have derived from the old English braed, which meant “flesh” or “meat”. That may have been one of the earliest examples of advertising euphemisms I’ve heard of.
Before I started researching, I knew nothing about sweetbreads – never tried ’em, and they didn’t sound too appetizing to me.
But listening to Brandon rhapsodize about them and watching him prepare a dish made me think again. How could something that this chef cares so much about, and takes so much care preparing be so bad?
As we started shooting, we got more and more into what chef Brandon was doing. We looked on as he took the raw sweetbread and transformed it into a tender, flavourful, golden brown, delicious morsel. When the finished dish was on the counter we all pounced, forks in hand.
So now I’m a convert. Definitely different, nothing like a steak or other meat - but delicious. Although the flavour is rich and creamy, it isn’t easy to describe. But that didn't stop us from going back to the counter for just one more bite.
Shooting the Chef Project videos is always a fun experience and we always learn a lot. But besides being an outstanding chef, Brandon is a funny guy with a great sense of humour. We laughed a lot during our few hours with him.
Thanks so much to Chef Brandon and La Banane restaurant for sharing with us.
Who knows anything about sweetbreads? Who even knows what sweetbreads are?
Chef Brandon Olsen does. I mean he really does.
Here’s a guy who lives and breathes being a chef, and sweetbreads are at the top of his recipe list. He swears he’ll never take them off his menu at his restaurant, La Banane in Toronto.