La notte di animelle: Junk Food Fritto Mixto

Fritto Mixto a la offal

This final savory course of the night of the off-cuts celebrates sweetbreads, the edges of edibles, and everyone’s favorite garbage food: McDonald’s. I served these deep fried sweetbreads and chicken hearts, which amazingly took the same amount of time to cook, with fried preserved citrus rinds which are one of my new favorite foods, out of 4-piece nugget and large fry McDonald’s boxes, adding some whimsy I hope. Even though this was the fourth course, there was almost nothing leftover, they went down so smoothly.

  • 1/2 lb sweetbreads, blanched and separated into nuggets
  • 1/2 lb chicken hearts
  • flour
  • sriracha
  • egg
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 limes
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 TB tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp juniper pods
  • 1 TB fresh ginger
  • 2 crumbled chile de arbol
  • 4 TB honey


Ahead: The hearts should be soaked in buttermilk for ideal texture. If you can’t don’t stress.

Make the sauce ahead, as it is best served cold. The citrus need to be peeled but the peel is the thing, so peel with a nice sharp knife, trying to get the peel in big strips and avoiding pith if possible. Slice the peels into the longest strips you can, about 1/4″ so that they are similar in shape to McDonald’s style fries. In a small pot, cover the strips with water and bring to a boil, then discard water and refill pot with cold water, bring to a boil again, discard water again. This time, replace the water with the juice of all 6 citrus fruits, squeezed for maximum effect, and the rest of the sauce ingredients. Stir well, bring to a boil once and then allow to simmer until the sauce is nicely reduced. Taste and season if necessary; it should be quite tart but with a balancing sweetness and heat. Allow to cool, ideally until cold but at minimum until you can touch it.

Take the sweetbread nuggets and hearts. Whisk 2 eggs and 2 TB sriracha in a bowl. Put flour on 2 large plates. Dip the meat into flour, then into the sriracha eggs, then the clean flour. With a fork or chopsticks, remove about half the citrus peels from the sauce, and dip them only in the clean flour.

In a cast iron skillet, heat oil until sizzling. Add the sweetbread nuggets, hearts, and citrus peel to the hot oil, and fry for a few minutes on each side or until nice and crunchy and slightly brown. It shouldn’t take long but you also don’t want to move them around excessively in the pan, so try to keep one eye on it. The sweetbreads come out crunchy outside and very soft inside, the hearts have a little more bite but wonderfully so, and the very tart citrusy sweet fries are a beautiful surprise. Bon appetit.


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