Aside from making the bouillabaisse on Monday, I was also busy making beef stock and poaching and pressing sweetbreads for dinner on Tuesday.
Over the weekend Erin and I went to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market and saw only one stand with fresh peas – a definite highlight of spring for both of us (up there with with ramps, young and tender asparagus and the smell of honeysuckle).
For the record, just over 3 pounds of peas (still in the pod) nets 1 pint when all’s said and done:
To cook them, bring a large pot of very salted water to a boil and blanch until they’re just cooked through, remove and place in an ice bath.
For the other components of the meal I had to: cook the fingerling potatoes which I’d sliced on the bias (place in a pot with cold water, salt, some thyme sprigs, a couple of bay leaves and a small handful of black peppercorn, bring to a boil then check for doneness. When done, place in an ice bath.); blanch the asparagus (use the same water and ice bath as the peas, then cut on the bias); roast the pearl onions (just barely slice both ends of the onion off, place on a sheet tray, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, then place in an oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until soft, wait until cooled then peel); and make the sauce.
For the sauce, I brought all the beef stock I’d made the previous day to a boil with about a cup and a half two two cups of sherry (veal stock also works wonderfully but I didn’t feel like jumping through hoops to get my hands on veal bones). Keep reducing throughout the day, straining every time you move it to a smaller pot, and make sure to skim it throughout the day. When it comes to the right consistency remove from heat and season, then cool. My 8 quarts or so yielded about a cup and a half of finished sauce.
Here’s how gelatinous the sauce should be when it’s cold:
To finish the dish, heat a pan with vegetable oil and a little butter, place the fingerlings in the pan, season. Once the potatoes just start to brown, flip them over and add the pearl onions (I did 4 per person), then add the asparagus and peas (you just need to reheat these since they’ve already been cooked). Keep warm.
To cook the sweetbreads, heat a pan over high heat, add a generous amount of vegetable oil and a little butter. Coat the sweetbreads in seasoned flour, then place in the pan. Once they are golden brown, flip with a spoon or tongs and cook the other side until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to drain.
Here’s what the final dish ended up looking like: