Crumbed sweetbreads with fennel salad

The soft texture of sweetbreads is wonderfully complemented by Matt Tebbutt's crispy outer coating and crunchy accompanying salad
By Matt Tebbutt
Crumbed sweetbreads with fennel salad
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 x 250 g veal sweetbreads
  • 60 g shelled hazelnuts
  • 1 large handful fresh white breadcrumbs
  • seasoned plain flour, to dust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • rapeseed or groundnut oil

For the fennel salad

  • 2 bulbs fennel, finely sliced
  • 16 radishes, finely sliced
  • 1 handful blanched, toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • few spoonfuls homemade or bought mustardy vinegary salad dressing
  • watercress or other salad leaves, to garnish


1. Pour 500ml of water in a saucepan, then drop in the thyme, peppercorns, the bay leaf and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil then simmer for 2 minutes to bring out the flavours in the aromatics. Put in the sweetbreads and simmer gently for about 6 minutes.

2. Remove the sweetbreads from the liquid with a slotted spoon and allow to cool by refreshing them in iced water so you can handle them. Meanwhile make the hazelnut crumbs. Put the hazelnuts in a blender and blend until you reach a breadcrumb consistency. Mix the hazelnuts with the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper.

3. When the sweetbreads are cool enough to handle, remove the outer membrane along with any lumps of fat, sinews or veins. Slice the sweetbreads. Dust the sweetbreads in the seasoned flour, shake off any excess, then dip in the beaten egg. Allow any excess egg to drip off the sweetbreads, then cover in the hazelnut crumbs.

4. For the fennel salad: mix together the sliced fennel, radishes and chopped hazelnuts and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little of the dressing, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

5. When ready to serve, heat enough rapeseed or groundnut oil to shallow fry in a heavy-based frying pan, then fry the sweetbreads in the pan for 2 minutes on each side, making sure that both sides are golden and crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with the fennel salad, garnished with some green salad leaves.

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