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Mike_F

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Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:37 pm

Question to all the experienced cooks here from a novice - what's the most efficient method for preparing veal brain for cooking? I am planning to drop brain slices in batter and quick pan fry before serving, but need some guidance on how to remove the membrane and outer blood vessels first. Methods I have seen call for 1-3 hours soaking in cold water with vinegar before peeling off the membrane - is there any faster method that works well?

thanks much,

Mike
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:47 pm

Take a look at this link (scroll down a little), it seems to have a concise explantion on all things related to brain prep.

http://chestofbooks.com/food/recipes/Century-Cook-Book/How-To-Prepare-Calf-s-Brains.html
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Re: Preparing brain?

by GeoCWeyer » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:09 pm

Why? ;-)
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Christina Georgina » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:07 am

Mike,
It's been a long time since I've prepared brain but it does take time and patience. I don't remember 3 hours but vinegar firms up the texture making it easier to strip the thin membranes
I never worked very hard to remove every last bit and the final product did not suffer. I prefer them fried but my mother always made a salad of blanched brain in vinegar with lots of celery and onion. It has an unmistakable taste and texture
Mamma Mia !
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:16 am

Thanks Karen and Christina. In the end I just did the vinegar & water in the fridge for ~2.5 hours, changing the fluid a couple of times in that period. Cleaning it was fairly easy and quick after that, and the dish was very tasty.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Peter May » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:38 am

Is that wise, in the view of mad cow disease?
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:26 am

Peter,

See http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/obs ... concerned/ for a recent summary on this topic. Variant CJD was never an issue in my country, and is actually no longer a significant concern in Europe, given the ongoing screening of beef animals and the strict ban on the feeding of mammalian processed animal protein to cattle, sheep and goats in the European Union (http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/biosafety ... ban_en.htm). If one is worried about this disease, a more pertinent precaution is to be aware of the source of any commercial mincemeat or ground beef that one purchases, given the possibility of an infected animal being processed in a rendering plant, and the fact that regulations in other countries such as the USA are different (http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott ... california). I get my mincemeat fresh from a good local butcher, and usually minced to order when purchased. The brain was from the same source, but frozen, since Israeli law prohibits sale of fresh brain.

best,

Mike
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Frank Deis » Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:44 pm

My first thought reading the title was "I do that all the time" -- by teaching Biochemistry to pre-meds...

I've enjoyed brain when I have had them. First time was at my first real French restaurant, I think La Cote Basque in NYC in the sixties, before I was married. Brains in butter. Nothing wrong with that dish, it tasted good.

My grandmother also served Scrapple for breakfast. God knows what's in that, I would be surprised if it doesn't include hog brain...
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Bill Spohn » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:39 am

GeoCWeyer wrote:Why? ;-)


Yeah, I'm kind of in that school too.

Youi can blanche them and that fimrs them up, much like sweetbreads, and then remove the various bits you don't want more easily, but they have never really lit up my gustatory firmament.

I see Jenise has not chimed in, but that figures - I asked her once if she'd ever had any brains and she replied in the negative...... :mrgreen:
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:20 am

Bill Spohn wrote:...but they have never really lit up my gustatory firmament...


Ah, now I understand Geo's question. Well, we don't do it often, since it's a special order from the butcher, etc, but the dish can be very tasty indeed with some parsley and a dash of lemon. By the way, there seems to be a lot more information in Italian on the web on this topic, including illustrated instructions for cleaning and good recipes, just do a Google search for 'cervello fritto'.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by GeoCWeyer » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:14 pm

I had them, served whole, once many years ago at a resort in Uruguay. They were I believe poached. They just didn't interest me. I did eat them however numerous times poached, then ground or chopped fine and used to stuff raviolis. Then they were part of the cheapest thing a person could purchase in the small town butcher shops..the head minus the tongue. The poorest people in the town would purchase them. The butcher shops would almost give them away.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:03 am

GeoCWeyer wrote:...I did eat them however numerous times poached, then ground or chopped fine and used to stuff raviolis...


That indeed does not sound very appetizing. If you ever get a chance try brain slices dipped in batter, then fried until just starting to brown on both sides, then served hot with some fresh chopped parsley and fresh-squeezed lemon juice over.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Bill Spohn » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:16 am

If you ever have the urge to eat brains I suggest a viewing of Hannibal may cure you..... :twisted:
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Re: Preparing brain?

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:09 pm

Zombie apocalypse anyone?
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Jacques Levy » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:20 pm

Mike_F wrote:If you ever get a chance try brain slices dipped in batter, then fried until just starting to brown on both sides, then served hot with some fresh chopped parsley and fresh-squeezed lemon juice over.


Just like mom used to make them, yumm (not kidding)

Mike, do you know of any restaurant that serves them like this?
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike_F » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:38 am

Jacques,

The veal brain "sofrito" at Catit restaurant in Tel Aviv (http://www.catit.co.il/Index_E.php?ID_Sec=38) is to die for. Not cheap by Israeli standards, but IMVHO the very best restaurant in the country.

best,

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Re: Preparing brain?

by Jacques Levy » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:53 pm

Thanks Mike, I've been to Catit a couple of times and loved it, I'll make sure to try that dish next time if it's still on the menu
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Jenise » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:31 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:I see Jenise has not chimed in, but that figures - I asked her once if she'd ever had any brains and she replied in the negative...... :mrgreen:


Just found this. You in trouble, boy. :wink:
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Paul Winalski » Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:19 pm

I ordered tete du porq at a restaurant in France once. I was expecting braised cheek meat. What I wasn't expecting was to see a whole poached pig's brain perched on top of the meat. My first thought was "OMG, mad pig disease!".

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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:58 am

Paul Winalski wrote:I ordered tete du porq at a restaurant in France once. I was expecting braised cheek meat. What I wasn't expecting was to see a whole poached pig's brain perched on top of the meat. My first thought was "OMG, mad pig disease!".

-Paul W.


Similar to my first experience with tete de veau at a place in Paris. There were a number of different bits and pieces on the plate, a few of which were not particularly recognizable. One piece that was very recognizable was a half calf brain, neatly split at the corpus callosum. That was the one part I didn't eat.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Frank Deis » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:52 pm

As I have said, I enjoyed brains when I ate them, and if I were served it I would eat it again. I do like the idea of brain sliced, breaded, and fried. I wonder if you can buy them at a butcher's these days? I see all kinds of offal at the Asian markets I visit but I don't believe I have ever seen brains there.
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Paul Winalski » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:04 am

I did eat the pig's brain. I wasn't fond of the texture, and I wouldn't order tete de porq again.

But I didn't suffer any bad side-effects. Harvey, the six-foot fluorescent glowing pink pig standing next to me, tells me I should say so. :twisted:

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Re: Preparing brain?

by Bob Henrick » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:44 pm

Here is what Wikipedia says about scrapple. this is cut and pasted so nothing is left out.


Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are discarded, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added.[2][3] The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook's taste.[4]

A few manufacturers have introduced beef[5] and turkey varieties and color the loaf to retain the traditional coloration derived from the original pork liver base. Home recipes for chicken and turkey scrapple are also available.[6][7]
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Re: Preparing brain?

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:42 am

Bob Henrick wrote:Here is what Wikipedia says about scrapple. this is cut and pasted so nothing is left out.


Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are discarded, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added.[2][3] The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook's taste.[4]

A few manufacturers have introduced beef[5] and turkey varieties and color the loaf to retain the traditional coloration derived from the original pork liver base. Home recipes for chicken and turkey scrapple are also available.[6][7]


Seems that brain could easily be included in this.
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