Brains

The poor brain. Revered on one hand as the source of knowledge, distained gastronomically by all but a few who can’t resist its delicate texture and flavor.
I don’t understand what people have against brains except for the associations. Why eating a brain is that much different than eating a muscle, I can’t figure out. Reflecting on the contents of a hot dog would be much more off-putting. The only thing that is somewhat disconcerting is the brain’s fragile texture; it reminds me of how tenuously we connect to life. But all of this aside, brains are the most delicate of organ meats both in texture and flavor.
When you get your brains—veal or lambs’ brains are best—home, rinse them off and peel away the thin transparent membrane covering the entire organ. (If you freeze brains—they freeze fine—be sure to remove this membrane first. Once the brain has been frozen it’s almost impossible to remove.) Soak the brains for a few hours overnight in salty water. The salt draws out the streaks of blood on the surface which would otherwise turn gray when cooked.
Once you’ve soaked the brains, they’re ready to be cooked. As a preliminary (or final) process, they should be poached for five minutes or so, traditionally in court-bouillon (vegetable broth), but salt water with a bunch of herbs will work also. After poaching, the brains can be sliced and fried for a few seconds (after coating with a light flour and water batter), cooked with poached eggs (which make a beautiful foil for their texture), sautéed in butter, or simply roasted with frequent bastings with butter. When poached or sautéed, brains are delicious accompanied by brown butter (see ghee page 000), a little lemon juice, some chopped parsley, and perhaps some capers. I would have no objection to a beurre blanc flavored with a little chervil or tarragon. Garnitures should be kept simple and mild.

One Response to Brains

  1. Being strict vegetarian this is greek and latin to me.

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