Contrary to popular belief, sweetbreads are not brains. Though, for some form of strange entertainment, we could pretend they are brains anyways at the coming of the zombie Apocalypse.
Sweetbreads is the thymus gland is located at the throat, gullet or neck. Or the pancreas (heart belly or stomach). And, most famously, "Rocky Mountain Oysters", are also the same gland that in the food world we call sweetbreads.
The etymology of the word "sweetbread", considering it is not a bread, nor is it sweet is attested to the idea that it is sweet in comparison to savory muscle based meats. And "bread" most likely comes from the Old English word "brǣde", meaning roast meat.
Sweetbreads are a significant source of B12 which plays a key role in proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as being a very high quality protein source.
yes, it is fugly
Unfortunately sweetbreads, like most offal, has a bad wrap... and of the offal kingdom, I will even admit it is one of the saddest most ugly bits out of the lot. But its velvety texture and mild sweet flavor more than make up for it. I promise!
1 lb sweetbreads
1/4 diced red onion
12 button mushrooms, sliced
1 C chopped parsley
knob of raw butter
1 T olive oil
Enough water to submerge the sweetbreads
A splash of white wine
thyme and parsley
Rinse your sweetbreads thoroughly in cold, gently running water.
Bring your pot of water with the wine, herbs, and spices to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Add your sweetbreads into the pot. Poach for 2½ minutes so they firm up slightly.
Remove the sweetbreads from the pot, and scatter the sweetbreads across a cutting board to cool and dry off.
Once the sweetbreads are cool enough to handle,slice them into several uniform pieces.
Heat your pan. Add a splash of oil and a knob of butter. Add your mushrooms and onions and let them cook until they are nice and golden. Remove them and set aside. Add a bit more oil and butter if needed and season the sweetbreads with salt and pepper and then add to the pan. Careful not to let the butter burn, and cook the sweetbreads until they are golden brown, careful not to overcook. At this point they are ready to serve. Plate the sweetbreads and return the mushrooms and onions to the pan as well as the parsley in the last minute to heat, and drizzle the butter and mushroom mixture over the sweetbreads,