If you speak
French, you might think the title of this post means The Imperfect Perfect.
means The Imperfect Parfait.
And that, in
itself, is misleading because it wasn't the parfait that was imperfect, it was
Even then, it
was less an imperfect recipe and more a recipe lost in translation.
friend Greg, from Sippity Sup, recently wrote a post on interpreting recipes;
it's definitely worth reading. Translating/interpreting recipes is something we, as cooks,
do all the time. We look at old recipe cards and cookbooks - even new cookbooks
- and we do our best to create the dish the author intended.
always work. There is an art to writing a recipe so that it is clear to anyone,
especially a beginner. Sometimes we need to redo the recipe to make it work.
recipe is one of those recipes. It came from Wine Grower and Food Lover... Régine Sumeire - 50 Family Recipes. She tells us that the original recipe is from a friend of hers in Québec, and the Régine shares her edited version. I saw the title and was
Sweetbreads? Oh, my! But looking at the recipe, I knew this was going to
require some serious translation. Several other people I know looked at it, as
well, and felt there was something missing. My first attempt was made as
written. We ended up with an unctuous soup, not a parfait. But the flavor was
exquisite. It was now time to tinker.
second trial of the recipe, I took the advice of my friend Susan, a Cordon Bleu grad, and also
made a few of my own changes. Voilà, it was perfection. I served it with a rosé
from the source - La Source Gabriel, a wine created by Reegine Sumeire (Château La Tour de l'Évêque) and her nephew, Roger Blanc Sumeire (Domaine Font-Freye). For more about the wine
pairing, visit the Provence WineZine.
sweetbreads, and I think you all know that I am speaking of offal, and not
breakfast treats. Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of a cow. “Sweetbreads”
sounds much nicer, less clinical, doesn't it?
won't be for everyone. In fact Susan, my friend from the Provence WineZine, is
rather creeped out by sweetbreads. For her, and those of you in her camp, I promise
a lovely recipe for pasta with grilled seafood next week.
perfection with every recipe!
I show the
original recipe page in the photos of the book above. The recipe that follows works. It is my
version of Régine’s version of her friend’s version.
1 cup diced
1/2 cup tawny
tablespoons unsalted butter
freshly ground pepper
oven to 350°F.
onions in a shallow ovenproof saucepan and pour the Port over the onions. Top
with the sweetbreads, in once piece. Cover, and bake for 50 minutes.
the oven, uncover, and set aside sweetbreads on a plate to cool. Place saucepan
with onions, Port, and pan juices over medium heat. Cook until liquids are
sweetbreads in the bowl of a small food processor with a steel blade. Add the
reduced port/onion mixture, and process until evenly chopped. Add the lemon
juice, butter, and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture is
mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Scoop the parfait into a serving bowl or
glass. You will have about 1/2 cup. Smooth the top and refrigerate until ready
the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before serving. Spread on water crackers or toasted
bread, and serve with a chilled rosé, Sauternes, or a kir.
Serves 4. Note: this
recipe makes very little in quantity, but it is extremely rich and a little goes a long way.