Cooking Brains

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by Oyibo, Aug 19, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Living as I do in France, I am fascinated by the body parts available in supermarkets, boucheries, and traiteurs. In the various countries in which I have lived there has been an impressive display of offal, but France is the first in which animal brains are on regular display. WMW Fowler's Countryman's Cooking offers an interesting recipe for deep-fried battered brains, and Ms Glaze offers a good description of a recipe in Sautéed Cerveaux (Fried Brains) - Ms. Glaze's Pommes d'Amour

    But I am at a loss (despite google) to find a traditional French dish using brain. Can anyone help? (Rather hoping Emsav can help with her French culinary knowledge.)
  2. I had a quick look but couldn't find anything. I can lay my hands on a 50's copy of Esquire cook book, it had recipes for ram's balls so it might have a brains recipe.

    Good to see someone else has Countryman's cooking, a good read, and some of the recipes are good to try.

    I won't have access to the book for a day or two, I'll get back to you when I can.
  3. Thanks Chef, I'd be interested to see whether there's a brain recipe in that book.

    There are some interesting recipes on the web - Mustard Crumbed Brains | springs to mind (if you'll forgive the pun), but I'm at a bit of a loss as to finding out what the average French family would do when cooking a brain or two.
  4. Not brains, but I do see "cows' uterus" on the chiller shelves in the supermarkets here.

    I'll have a go at most things, but - perhaps strangely - have never felt tempted to buy this morsel.
  5. Sure thats not a mirror?
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Know how you feel JC. I went to Vietnam a couple of years ago and had to pass on this one:

    Cabbage. Yuk.

  7. I've eaten brains a couple of times, both in France and both by accident.

    Each time I mistook them for cauliflower florets floating in what I thought was vegetable stew.

    One mouthful in and you know what you are eating. Not that I minded particularly, but they don't taste of anything so much as grey mush.

    So I'd try and curry them if you really want to have a go, but I wouldn't put too much effort into it unless, of course, you want to try and shock the shit out of your suburban mother-in-law next time she comes to stay.
  8. There are many recipes for brains (Cervelles) in Escoffier.

    One of the simpler ones being Matelote de Cervelle. As you will know, all brains have to be well cleaned and free of blood by leaving under a running cold water tap. Then they can be blanched for around 15 to 25 mins depending on type (size)

    Matelote de Cervelle.

    Use well soaked and cleaned brains, free of all blood. Cook them in Red Wine Court-bouillon well flavoured with herbs and vegetables and prepare in advance.

    Cut the cooked brains into thick slices, place in a heated timbale or deep dish and add a garnish of small cooked mushrooms and glazed button onions.

    Pass the Court-bouillon through a fine strainer into a pan, reduce it, thicken with a little Beurre Manie (simple preparation of soft butter and flour kneaded together by hand, say a tablespoon of each) and then pour over the brains.

    Serve whilst still hot surrounded by small heart shaped or whatever shaped decrusted bread fried in clarified butter.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. I've eaten brains before in a Nigerian dish called Ize Ewu (Sp?), a delicacy of Warri, and it was pretty much the same as your curry experience - a bit of mush. I would be intrigued to taste them 'sans-épice' to see whether they do actually taste good.
  10. Thanks Monty - rather shamefully I have no Escoffier books. That recipe sounds rather good.

  11. You're welcome. You only need the one..ESCOFFIER THE COMPLETE Guide to the art of MODERN COOKERY.

    When it says MODERN, the translation was in 1921 :) but it is a wonderful book, I have had mine for over 20 yrs and have found nothing to compare.
  12. I just had a qick look on Amazon Uk and they have a number of used ones in 'Good condition' at around £48..**** me, I'm rich!!!
  13. Ouch!! So much for offal being for the poor.
  14. I'm sure i've an English recipe in my Grandmothers Radiation cookery book.
  15. My Gran used to do Calf brain with caper butter sauce, I remember it being very tasty.