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Crispy sweetbreads, asparagus and almond purée – recipe by Michel Roux Jr

Sweetbreads are by far my favourite offal. The tender and moist texture combined with the crispy exterior is simply heavenly. Accompanied with seasonal roast vegetables and a silky smooth almond purée, this dish will definitely get your taste buds going.

Crispy sweetbreads, asparagus and almond purée and wines to match

Serves 4


  • 800g raw veal sweetbreads
  • 12 thin green asparagus
  • 1 bunch of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsps olive oil (+ a drizzle for baking)

To prepare the almond purée:

  • 100g Blanched almonds
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml cream

To prepare the jus:

  • 500ml veal stock
  • 200ml tomato juice
  • 30g black olives
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 180degrees C
  2. It is best to soak the sweetbreads for several hours in clean cold water to remove any impurities. Bring a large pot filled with salted water to a gentle simmer before adding the raw sweetbreads inside. Depending on the size; cook them for 15 to 20 minutes making sure the water never boils. Delicately remove the offal from the water and immediately refresh in ice cold water. Finally, trim off any sinew or gristle and pat dry. Keep them to one side until all the other ingredients are prepped.
  3. To create a simple and light jus to accompany the dish. Reduce the stock and the tomato juice in two separate saucepans. Once reduce by 2/3 whisk them together, had the halved olives and season to taste.
  4. Rehydrate and soften the blanched almonds in a medium sized saucepan with both liquids. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Whilst still hot, place the almonds and liquid directly into a food processor and blitz till completely smooth. Season well.
  5. Place the cherry tomatoes and asparagus spears in a large mixing bowl. Carefully season the veggies with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Then place in a baking tray and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Once the asparagus are tender and the tomatoes are shrivelled up remove from the oven.
  6. In the meantime; season each sweetbread with salt and pepper and lightly dust in flour before pan-frying in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on a medium to high heat. Avoid moving them too often in the pan, in order to achieve that beautiful crispy brown colour. This should only take 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Elegantly dress all the elements together and devour.

Wines to match with crispy sweetbreads, asparagus and almond purée

In France this delicate white meat is traditionally paired with a crisp white wine. So keeping with tradition, why not try a 100% Chardonnay from Burgundy. Cave de Lugny Les charmes, Mâcon Lugny 2014 is refreshingly crisp and perfect to offset the full richness from the sweetbreads.

For those who truly prefer a red wine with meat, I suggest a light Pinot Noir from the Loire region. The 2013 Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates from Denis Jamain is bursting with redcurrant flavours and subtle hints of earthiness. Which genuinely complements the roasted veggies in this recipe.

Finally, a very special white wine to accompany this delectable offal dish. I assure you the 2012 Châteauneuf-du-pape, pure Roussane from Domaine Raymond Usseglio is worth every penny. This dry and aged in barrel white wine just embellishes and brings this whole dish together.

The wines

Cave de Lugny, Les Charmes, Mâcon Lugny 2014:  The delicateness of the sweetbreads begs for a full flavoured wine.  This white Burgundy is abundant in stone fruit, honey flavours, with intense aromas of peach and apricot.  It is wonderfully refreshing cutting the butteryness of the dish and a subtle spicy twist compliments it beautifully. RRP: £11.49 from Waitrose Cellar

Denis Jamain, Reuilly Rouge, Les Pierres Plates 2013: A sumptuously deep red.  Dark cherry and blueberry flavours hit the palate first with a delicate hint of spice which pairs beautifully with the tender sweetbreads. RRP: £14.95 from Berry Bros & Rudd

Domaine Raymond Usseglio, pure Roussane, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012: There is a wonderfully complex minerality to this wine.  With sweet flavours of peach and honeysuckle, there is a hint of sea salt which balances the flavour beautifully.  This wine is a real treat and truly one to savour. RRP: £39.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

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