Offal is a much under-appreciated meat, but with the right sauce and the right technique, it can be delicious. Here, chef Matt Tropeano of La Silhouette pan-fries veal sweetbread and serves it with a tangy, fruity Meyer lemon sauce and oversized ravioli made from fresh pasta dough and stuffed with roasted fennel and garlic.
Bring a large pot of salted water to just under a simmer over medium heat. Poach the lobes for about 6 minutes. Place sweetbreads in a casserole pan, and place another casserole pan over the sweetbreads, flat side down.
Apply a weight on the top dish to "press the sweetbreads." (This makes them more uniform and easier to cook.) Refrigerate overnight.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. With tongs, sterilize a canning jar and lid by placing them in the water for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jar and lid and place the fennel in the jar.
In a pot, combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the jar over the fennel. The fennel is ready as soon as it is cooled, but can sit for 1-2 days to pickle even more.
Heat a pan over medium heat until hot and caramelize the honey for 1 minute. Then, add the lemon juice and bring to simmer. Add the lemon zest and garlic and reduce the liquid by ½.
Let the sauce cool. In a blender, combine the sauce with a little water to reach the desired consistency of a loose mayonnaise. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, to taste. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Season the fennel with the salt and pepper, to taste, and wrap together with the ½ head garlic in aluminum foil. Transfer to a baking dish or sheet and roast until tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer, and set the mixer speed to low. Add in the eggs and 12 of the egg yolks 1 at a time and increase the speed to medium. Drizzle in the olive oil and water and knead the dough until elastic and smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
Remove the fennel from the oven and let cool. Place in a blender, add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and remaining egg yolk, and blend until well combined. Set aside.
Lightly flour the work surface. Roll the dough in a pasta machine to the second setting or roll out using a rolling pin. Once the dough is flattened, cut into rectangles 3-inches across. Use the filling to make oversized ravioli and then fold the dough to enclose the ravioli. Use a fork to seal all sides and refrigerate.
Remove the sweetbread from the refrigerator and cut into the desired portions. In a pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Dust the sweetbread in flour, and lightly pan-fry them until golden brown on both sides.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the ravioli for 4 minutes and drain. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining garlic, escarole, and pickled fennel. Sauté the escarole for about 12 minutes and then toss the ravioli into the escarole. Top the ravioli with the sweetbread, Meyer lemon sauce, and pine nuts.