Genoese Stuffed Veal Breast
SERVES 6 – 8
Cima means summit—perhaps a reference to this Genoese classic's monolithic form, or maybe because it's considered a gastronomic peak.
1 calf's brain, about 1/2 lb.
1/4 lb. veal sweetbreads
2/3 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. veal loin, finely chopped
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 4-lb. boned veal breast, bones reserved
(have your butcher cut a pocket through center of breast)
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery stalk, halved
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1. Bring a small saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add brains, blanch for 1 minute, then remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. Set aside. Add sweetbreads to boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water. Remove and discard any visible membranes from sweetbreads (it is O.K. if some remain). Finely chop brains and sweetbreads together and set aside.
2. Refill saucepan with salted water; bring to a boil over high heat. Add peas; blanch until they turn bright green, about 2 minutes (30 seconds if using frozen peas). Drain, refresh, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brains, sweetbreads, and veal loin. Cook, stirring, until meat is firm and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer meat to a large bowl and cool. Add eggs, parmigiano-reggiano, oregano or marjoram, garlic, and peas. Mix and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon filling into pocket of veal breast; sew open end shut with a kitchen needle and thin twine. Wrap breast in a double layer of cheesecloth, leaving several inches of excess cloth at either end. Twist ends tightly, forcing the air out of cima and the filling into center. Form breast into the shape of a large, fat sausage, tie ends with kitchen twine, and wrap breast with additional twine to maintain sausage shape.
5. Place bones, onions, carrot, celery, and parsley in a large pot. Add enough water to cover cima, about 5 quarts, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, lower cima into pot (it should be fully submerged), partially cover. Simmer for 2 hours, skimming foam as it rises. Remove cima; place on a large plate. Allow to cool, about 2 hours. Top with foil, and weight with a baking dish filled with cans. Refrigerate overnight. Remove weight, unwrap, and cut into 1/2'' slices. Serve at room temperature.