Our buttermilk fried sweetbreads recipe takes a little effort, but the resulting nuggets – crispy on the outside and creamy and mild on the inside – are totally worth it.
- 1 package French Veal Sweetbreads
- Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika (smoked or sweet)
- 1 teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- Peanut oil
- Rinse sweetbreads under cold water and place in a non-reactive container. Cover with ice water and refrigerate, changing the water a few times, for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain sweetbreads. Prepare a clean ice water bath, set aside. Place sweetbreads in a saucepan and cover with an inch of cold water; add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a simmer; cook until sweetbreads are slightly firm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Remove sweetbreads with a slotted spoon to the ice bath.
- In a small bowl, stir together garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, paprika, celery salt, and cayenne. Set aside.
- Once the sweetbreads are cooled, remove any visible membrane or stringy bits with your fingers. Carefully pull sweetbreads apart into chunks. When completely cleaned, place sweetbreads in a bowl and add the buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture, turning to coat. Cover and chill for about 2 hours.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and the remaining spice mixture. Add about 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk into the seasoned flour and mix with a fork, creating little shaggy bits.
- Lift each piece of sweetbreads out of the buttermilk allowing excess to drip off then dredge in the shaggy flour, gently squeezing to coat. Place coated sweetbreads on a wire rack and continue until all pieces are coated.
- When ready to cook, heat a few inches of peanut oil in a cast iron pan to maintain 350 degrees F. Prepare a paper towel lined plate, set aside.
- Fry the sweetbreads in batches as not to overcrowd the pan, until golden, crisp, and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes each. Rest fried sweetbreads on the prepared plate and season lightly with salt. Continue until all sweetbreads are fried. Serve immediately.