Offalgood

Chef Chris Cosentino’s educational and inspirational tool for those who are interested in learning about and cooking with offal.
Raw Brains

Brains!!!

The idea for most of eating brains brings back memories of the original movie Return of the living dead.

raw calves brain

Raw calfs brain about to be poached.

So most people moan and scream like a zombie and act like an ass instead of having the opportunity to enjoy this beautiful creamy cut. Here I will show a recipe for brains, so order your brain fork which any self respecting offal eater should own one of these. Turn on your favorite zombie flick and get ready to eat some delicious brains.

cooked calves brain

The calves brain has been poached very gently in a traditional court boullion for about 5 minutes. then the membrane is removed and its ready to be taken to the next step towards a finished dish.

calfs brains with porcini and capers

calf’s brains with porcinis and capers

In a saute pan over medium heat add a nug of butter and let it brown place the seasoned poached brain in the pan presentation side down. Add the sliced porcinis and place in the oven for 3 minutes remove from the over an flip the brain over and add the capers. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice and a splash of chicken stock, add a bit of butter and let the sauce reduce finish with parsley and serve.

Leave a Comment (15)

  1. I like how you left the cut intact, so it looks like what it is. I recently had a lamb brains masala at a Pakistani restaurant in Fremont. The meat was minced very finely. That technique definitely changed the bite of the dish.

    Tony | | Reply
  2. Myself and a couple of friends just made a reservation for the Incanto fifth quarter tasting menu. After reading through the blog a bit, we’re excited…and nervous. I don’t think any of us have ever had brains or duck fries or cockscombs or, well, just about everything here. Should be one heck of an experience.

    Matt | | Reply
  3. In the Philippines, a favorite side dish is brain omelet (or tortang utak in Tagalog) My grandmother would first saute the brain with golden brown garlic and then fold them in scrambled eggs. It’s one of the comfort foods that I truly miss from back home.

    Doddie from Korea | | Reply
  4. I know what I’m making for Halloween dinner! ;)

    I wonder where I can get brain…*runs off to supermarket*

    Hah, “offal” just appeared on my SAT vocab list, and my teacher said that “offal” rhymes with “awful”, so that’s how to remember the meaning, however, I see a delicious brain…

    Jillian | | Reply
  5. I ate brain sandwich filling in the mid-70′s and have never had brains since that time. Not because I didn’t want them, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try again. The delicious mixture consisted of pig brain and spices which was of a coarse ground consistency. Delicious! …my friend was a bit leery of letting me know what it was… a favorite of the Northern Alberta French community in Canada.

    Kohkom Sharon | | Reply
  6. In the early 1980′s having learned how to prepare calf’s brains where I worked as line cook in a French NY Times 2 star. Soon thereafter I went on a brains bender, eating them at least once a week for several months. My favorite way to prepare them was au beurre noir. Dusted with flour, sauteed in clarified butter and finished with blackened butter, vinegar. capers and parsley. Then one night I f–ked up.

    I undercooked the brains in the court boullion. Rather then heat them up again and risk overcooking them, I decided to try to get them to set up during saute.
    Well they didn’t. But by now I was so hungry I went ahead and ate some.

    That was the last time I ate brains. Pity me.

    Bob delGrosso | | Reply
  7. I’ve had a lot of offal over the years, and although I’ve had something like calves brain, it was in a ravioli; hidden from view of what it really is.

    So although someone already said above, I’ll further comment that I like that you leave so many of your dishes intact.

    Hopefully I’ll make to San Fran someday to see if i can put my money where my mouth is–and deal as it were.

    Bill Burge | | Reply
  8. I have the fondest memories of Calf’s brains. My German grandmother would make them in the aforementioned scrambled egg style with sauteed onions in the mix. My North Caroline raised father-in-law found that we shared a love of this dish while the rest of the family members groaned. It is a bonding moment.
    My favorite special treat was when she breaded the lobe and panfried it much like a chicken cutlet. It was divine! The crunchy breaded coating (homemade breadcrumbs as well.) with the warm custardy inside. It was a talent and one of my favorite meals at her home.
    Unfortunately, with the event of Mad Cow (and USDA-Govenment Idiocy) I am leary of finding them and of eating them. Another innocence the corporate farming greed has ruined

    Karin | | Reply
  9. I concur with liking the way the brains are left intact… i remember my Mother making brains when i was young and being seriously disappointed that they were minced and didn’t actually look like a brain. Also your recipe looks much tastier (sorry Mom). I remember liking them at first as a child and then changing my mind mid meal, but perhaps I will have to give them another shot…

    Also, for those with kids, you CAN actually initially convince your kids that you’ll be serving monkey brains, which seemed like a great time for my Mom, and got me more interested in trying them than if she had just said they were calves’ brains.

    inga | | Reply
  10. In Turkey we eat brain salad and it is very easy to make.
    We poach a lambs brain and eat it cold with olive oil and lemon juice served together with other green stuff. Usually we leave the brain intact or slice it thickly.

    Murat Turan | | Reply
  11. Good recipe. I grew up eating offals so have no qualms about eating them. Here is a recipe you may try:

    Clean brains by poaching for 5 minutes in warm water

    Sutee onions and garlic (hot chillies, optional)
    Add a pinch of turmeric
    Add tomato concasse and brains. Sautee till the brains are cooked (5 minutes on each side)
    Season with salt and white pepper

    Jamshed Bhathena | | Reply