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  HOT SALAD CALF'S BRAINS

Ingredients

2 pairs calf's brains
3/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons instant-blending or all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
15 medium mushrooms, washed, dried, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
20 asparagus stalks
3-4 raw or cooked crab legs, or a 31/2-Ounce can of crab meat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
A chafing dish, 12 incheslong and 8 inches wide


Method
Soak and cook the brains. Keep the brains warm and, just before assembling the dish, cut into 1/4-inch slices. While the brains are soaking, prepare the sauce: in an ungreased skillet, stir the flour over low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until pale golden. Stir in the butter and, when it melts and starts to bubble, slowly pour in the half-and-half, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 min- utes. Mix in the remaining sauce ingredients, remove from the heat, and reserve. Warm the sauce gently just before assembling the dish. Next melt the tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add the mushrooms, and saute over moderate heat for 10 minutes, tossing them two or three times. Reserve. Break off and discard the tough stem ends of the asparagus. With a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife, peel off the bright green outer flesh of the stalks, starting about l1/2-2 inches down from the tips. Be sure the stalks are of equal length and tie the spears with string into two bundles, about 2 inches in from either end. Bring to a boil enough water to cover the bundles, add the asparagus, and cook over moderate heat for 5-7 minutes, or until just tender. To test for doneness, lift one bundle by the string. If the spear tips droop slightly, the asparagus are ready; they should still be a bit crunchy. Lift out the bundles, remove the string, and cut the spears into 2-inch pieces. Set aside and keep warm. If you are cooking fresh crab legs, boil them for 20 minutes with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and water to cover. Crack open, pick out the meat, and sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. If you use canned crab meat, pick it over carefully for membranes and shells, then rinse, drain, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Reserve 1/2 Cup of the sauce and spread the rest over the bottom of a warm chafing dish. Arrange the sliced brains in l or 2 wide rows across the dish, overlapping the slices. Arrange the mushrooms and asparagus to the right and left of the brains and fill in either end of the dish with the crab meat. With the reserved sauce, outline the brains. Keep the chafing dish over moderate heat to warm the salad. If you are not assembling and serving the salad in a chafing dish, have all the ingredients as warm as possible before they are assembled. Heat a serving dish that can later be kept warm on an electric food warmer, and arrange the salad as just described.

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