Lamb sweetbreads, sorrel summer salad

No, they’re not testicles. Yes, they’re really tasty.

Still need convincing about sweetbreads? Have a read of this post wot I wrote about them on the Borough Market website, then cook up and assemble the recipe below. For very little effort and not many pounds, you get: bouncy, buttery, tender, ever so slightly metallic morsels of meat, which match so well with the citrus zing of sorrel leaves, peppery radishes, crisp peas and a lemony dressing. I reckon this is a pretty easy introduction to offal, and one that’s well worth trying. g’wan.

This recipe was commissioned by Borough Market as part of my current series ‘The Offal Project’, which is published on their website. Read more of my words, and a great deal more, over at


Lamb’s sweetbreads, sorrel, herb and summer vegetable salad

Serves 4

  • 500g lamb’s sweetbreads
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 100g butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt

For the salad

  • 2 small yellow courgettes
  • 1 bunch breakfast radishes
  • 1 gem lettuce
  • 100g bag of sorrel
  • 200g fresh peas in their pods
  • 100g mangetout
  • Leaves from 5 sprigs mint, roughly chopped
  • Leaves picked from 15 sprigs chervil

For the dressing

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Sea salt

Put the sweetbreads in a bowl and cover with cold water. Drain the water and repeat two times, then fill the bowl once more, leaving the sweetbreads to soak for an hour, then drain.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Blanch the sweetbreads for 5 minutes. Drain and plunge into iced water or leave under a running cold tap until cool. Use your thumb and foreigner to push any tight knots of fat and the membrane from the sweetbreads, drain and dry on a kitchen towl. Chill in the fridge until required (you could do this first part well in advance if you wish).

When ready to eat, use a vegetable peeler to peel ribbons from the courgettes, wash the radishes and cut in half lengthways, separate the lettuce leaves and cut the largest in half, cut the sorrel leaves in half, pod the peas and wash the mangetout. Set to one side.

Whisk the salad dressing ingredients in a large bowl until emulsified and set to one side.

Place a heavy bottomed or cast iron frying pan over a high heat. Add the sunflower oil and allow it to heat almost to smoking point. Place the sweetbreads on the hot oil, and allow for sear for 60 seconds before turning. Sear the other side of the sweetbreads for another 60 seconds, then add the butter and allow to froth and brown for 2-3 minutes more, moving the sweatbreads around so they colour nicely. Squeeze the lemon juice in, season generously with salt and remove from the heat.

Toss the salad in the dressing bowl. Decant into 4 individual bowls or plates and divide the sweetbreads between them. Eat immediately.