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This recipe was inspired by and adapted from Jennifer McLagan’s Sumac-Encrusted Lamb’s Brain. We made two versions – one with arrowroot and one with breadcrumbs – to see if a gluten-free version would hold up as well. The breadcrumb version has a bit more crunch on the outside, giving way to the custardy center, which I preferred. However, the spices were the star of the dish, and both versions were well-received in our home.
Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 1-1½ hours to soak and poach brains)
Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 1 pound lambs’ brains
- 2⅜ teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 large or 2 small limes
- 4 tablespoons ghee
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sumac
- ½ teaspoon crushed rose petals (optional)
- ½ teaspoon chile powder
- ½ cup breadcrumbs or arrowroot
- To prepare the brains, place them in a bowl filled with cold water and soak in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pour off water carefully. Optionally, repeat.
- Bring 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil over high heat. When water boils, lower heat to medium and gently place brains into pot. The temperature should allow the water to ripple but not have any vigorous simmering action. Poach until brains are still pink in the center, about 10-15 minutes. They should be firm on the outside when poked, but custardy in the middle. (You can prepare your recipe up to this point a day in advance. Cool the brains on a towel or in an ice bath, and return them to the poaching liquid after it has cooled. Refrigerate until ready to use. Reserve poaching liquid as this can be added to soup or used to cook rice.)
- Dry the poached brains. Cut into quarters or half-inch slices.
- Zest lime(s) and reserve zest for the breading. To make the marinade, squeeze lime(s) into a mixing bowl. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and whisk until it has dissolved. Add pepper and olive oil and whisk together.
- Gently add brains to marinade and let rest while you prepare breading.
- To make the breading, mix reserved lime zest in a bowl (holding back just a bit for garnish, if you’d like) with sumac, rose petals, chile powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Add either breadcrumbs or arrowroot powder. Stir to combine.
- Heat half of the ghee in a pan on low. Meanwhile, remove brain pieces or slices from the marinade and dip each into the breading until well-coated. Let rest on a plate as you bread all of the other brain pieces.
- When ready to cook, turn heat to medium and wait for ghee to heat up until a drop of breading will fizzle in it. Add fritters and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes each.
- Garnish with reserved lime zest, if desired, and serve warm.
Reprinted with permission from Janine Farzin’s website, Offally Good Cooking. See many more recipes and sign up for her mailing list at offallygoodcooking.com.
Photo © Janine Farzin
Published in the Journal of Health and Healing™
Summer 2023 | Volume 47, Number 2
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