This is a remarkable sweetbreads recipe from Adam Simmonds that tastes as good as it looks. Not over-cooking is the key to tender and flavoursome sweetbreads. Served these veal sweetbreads with an intriguing combination of cockles and a mock-couscous, made using cauliflower

To make the veal sauce, in a frying pan, lightly caramelise the diced veal in hot oil. Once lightly browned, add the butter. Continue to cook until golden brown, then strain
In a stainless steel pan, caramelise the shallots. When they are almost done, add 450g of mushrooms and continue to cook until golden brown. Drain
Put the stocks and wine into a clean pan, bring to the boil, add the caramelised shallots and ¾ of the shoulder and cook for 20 minutes. Then, pass through a sieve, reduce in a fresh pan, and add the remaining ¼ of the shoulder
For the cauliflower couscous, place a pan onto the stove and add the butter. When foaming, add the grated cauliflower. Cook without colouring, until tender, but still with a bit of a bite. Season and drain
For the cauliflower purée, steam the cauliflower florets until ¾ cooked, then season with the salt and continue to cook until soft. When cooked, place into a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required
For the cockles, heat the oil in a pan and add the sliced shallots and thyme. Sweat down, then add the cockles and roll them around in the pan. Add the wine and cover immediately for 2-3 minutes. Once cooked, take the pan off the heat and drain in a colander. Cover with cling film, separate the meat from the shells, and reserve both the juice and meat until required
To make the cockle gel, place the liquor in a bowl. Sprinkle in the Ultratex and whisk in thoroughly. Allow to stand and it will thicken
Bring the water up to 60°C and remove from the stove. Add the Parmesan and stir, then leave to infuse for 30–40 minutes depending on how strong the cheese is. Pass through a fine sieve, then weigh out 250ml of the liquid into a suitable bowl. Sprinkle the Ultratex in, whisking constantly
To prepare the girolles, add the butter to a hot frying pan and allow to foam. Add the girolles and season. When cooked, drain
Dice the sweetbreads into equal size pieces. Place onto a dry cloth and dry properly. Fry in a frying pan with the grapeseed oil. When they begin to colour, add with the butter one chunk at a time and continue to cook on a relatively high heat until golden brown, then drain
To serve, place dots of cauliflower purée on the plate. Scatter with the couscous, then the sweetbreads and cockles. Spoon on the girolles and then the cockle gel
Finish the dish with very thin slices of raw cauliflower and sea purslane. Spoon over the warm veal sauce
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  • 400g of veal sweetbreads, run under cold water for 1 hour and membrane removed
  • 50ml of grapeseed oil
  • 175g of butter
  • salt
  • white pepper


  • 500g of cockles
  • 25g of shallots
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 10ml of olive oil
  • 60ml of white wine

Cockle gel

  • 10g of Ultratex

Cauliflower couscous


Cauliflower purée

Veal sauce

  • 1kg of veal shoulder, diced
  • 125ml of grapeseed oil
  • 250g of butter
  • 200ml of white wine, reduced to 70ml
  • 400ml of brown Chicken stock
  • 400ml of white Chicken stock
  • 500g of mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 40g of butter
  • 70g of shallots, finely sliced

Parmesan gel

To plate

  • 1 handful of purslane
  • 1 cauliflower, raw and finely sliced


  1. Blender
  2. Sugar thermometer

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This is a delicious veal sweetbreads recipe by Adam Simmonds. Cockles, cauliflower couscous and girolles accompany the succulent sweetbreads in this dish.

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