Mixt Greens Guy's 'Sweet' Salad: Haricot Verts with Sweetbread Croutons

Andrew Swallow, founder of the Mixt Greens empire, has co-authored a cookbook devoted to salads.
Mixt Salads: A Chef's Bold Creations by Andrew Swallow with Ann Volkwein showcases the story and recipes of Swallow, whose organic eatery Mixt Greens enjoys three locations in San Francisco as well as outposts in Los Angeles and now Washington, D.C. The book discusses basic techniques and tips, such as making vinaigrette and choosing greens properly, and includes minimal yet flavor-focused recipes divided by season. Considering that salads are entree-priced and cost between $9-$12 at Mixt Greens (ie. not exactly cheap), the book can be a cost-saver over time. It gives us a lot of ideas on how to get the five-a-day flowing in a more delicious manner, yet a number of recipes also incorporate meat.

Swallow and Volkwein caution that this dish needs to be prepared a day or evening ahead of time, and how many home cooks will go to the lengths of prepping sweetbreads for a salad? Probably not too many. But, given one's got a relative comfort level with offal in the kitchen, the recipe he's shared with us doesn't appear too difficult to execute, and could be a meal's show-stealer. Get cooking after the jump.

"Sweet": Haricot Verts with Sweetbread Croutons
Serves 4

1 pound sweetbreads
1/2 pound haricot verts
1/2 pound cipollini onions
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
4 ounces frisée
4 strips bacon, cut into lardons (1/2-inch chunks) and cooked until crispy
1/2 pound pancetta, cut into lardoons

1. Rinse the sweetbreads, then soak them in water overnight.
2. The next day, bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. Drain the sweetbreads and cook them in the salted water at a simmer for 2 minutes, then remove and drain. Let them cool for about 1 hour, and then carefully remove the membrane.
3. Bring another pot of salted water to a boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water. Trim the stem ends of the beans. Blanch the beans in the salted water for about 2 minutes, then remove and shock them in the ice bath. Set aside.
4. Remove the onion skins and cut each onion into sixths. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
5. To make the reduction, combine the wine and vinegar in a saucepan over high heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 15 minutes.
6. To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, sherry vinegar, and mustard in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.
7. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Break up the sweetbreads into thumb-size pieces, being very careful not to tear the flesh. Season with salt and pepper. Turning continuously to achieve even cooking, sauté the sweetbreads for 4 to 6 minutes, until golden brown. After about 4 minutes, remove the fat from the pan with a paper towel and add the butter and thyme. Baste with the butter for about 1 minute.
8. In each of 4 individual serving bowls, combine 1 ounce frisée, 11/2 ounces beans, 2 tablespoons bacon, 2 tablespoons pancetta, 1/4 cup onions, and about 7 sweetbreads. Toss with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing, and then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the reduction over the salad.

Reprinted with permission from Mixt Salads: A Chef's Bold Creations by Andrew Swallow with Ann Volkwein, copyright © 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

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