Akhtar Nawab
akhtar nawab's sweetbreads

Akhtar Nawab

by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
November 2, 2005


Whole-fried pompano
Mary’s Fish Camp
Calamari braised in ink
Tia Pol




12 oz. to 1lb. of calf sweetbreads
8 thumbelina carrots
8 baby turnips
Wondra flour
1 cup grapefruit juice
1 shallot, minced
½ vanilla bean
2 oz. seabeans
1 oz. olive oil or grape seed oil

For Pickling Liquid
White wine vinegar
White verjus
Spices: coriander, allspice, star anise, black peppercorn, cardamom (taster’s choice)
Bay leaf

For Pickling
Heat up all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil. Check for seasoning. Little to no salt is needed in the pickling of seabeans as they are naturally very salty. Pour liquid over seabeans and let cool, uncovered. When cool, cover and refrigerate. Should be ready in 2-3 days.

Blanch sweetbreads in acidulated water for about 5 minutes until fat and sinew begins to thicken and become opaquely white. Remove sweetbreads and shock in ice water. To clean, peel sheath of fat and skin off each side of sweetbread until no fat remains. Reserve.

Blanch turnips and carrots separately in salted water until tender. About 7 minutes depending on size. Shock in ice water. Reserve.

For the Citrus Sauce
Reduce grapefruit juice with shallots until syrupy in consistency. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking slowly until all butter is incorporated. You’ll need about four or five tablespoons. Keep warm, not hot.

Season sweetbreads with salt and pepper and dredge in Wondra flour. In a medium hot pan, add 1 oz olive oil or grape seed oil and add the sweetbreads. Place pan on oven floor at about 400 degrees. Cook for 7-8 minutes until golden brown on down side. Bring pan up to stovetop and add 1 tablespoon butter, vanilla and a thyme sprig. (Note: Root vegetables can be roasted in butter before sweetbreads are added.) Baste until sweetbreads are cooked all the way through, flip and cook on other side, about 1 minute. Place on plate with roasted vegetables. Add room temperature pickles and sauce with warm citrus sauce.

Click here to read about our feature craving from Akhtar Nawab at Craftbar.

* Since publication of this feature, Akhtar Nawab is no longer at Craftbar — February 2006. He has since opened his own restaurant Elletaria.

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