The French eat more offal than many other nationalities. In the Netherlands, I sometimes ate liver or blood sausage but that was about it. In France, I discovered sweetbread, kidney and spleen but I have not yet dared to eat heart or lungs.
A French editor once tested my willingness to adapt to France and the French way of life by ordering me a plate of slightly cooked kidneys with lasagne. The dish looked gross but I did acquire a taste for it.
As with all offal, you need to buy it fresh and clean. Our butcher had a few, still wrapped in white fat – sometimes used to fry potatoes in – that he pulled off and then removed some of the sinews.
You can cut the kidney in pieces and cook it in a frying pan with some sauce. Here, I cooked it in the oven and prepared it with broad beans that are in season.
- One kilo of broad beans
- One kidney (for two)
- Veal stock
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Shell the broad beans and cook them in plenty of water for 20 minutes, then drain them and put them in cold water for a “temperature shock” that will loosen the membrane around the bean.
- Preheat an oven to 200 °C degrees.
- In a small casserole, heat some olive oil and brown the kidney on all sides.
- Put the casserole in the oven (without the lid) and turn from time to time.
- Peel the membranes from the beans, you will have two green halves per bean. The membrane is often left on the broad beans but it is not vey digestible.
- When the kidney is done, take it from the oven and put aside. Remove from the casserole on paper towels.
- Add the veal stock to the casserole and mix well. Cook to reduce in volume.
- Put a big knob of butter in a frying pan and heat the beans.
- Drain the reduced veal stock.
- Present the kidney on a serving plate, add pepper and some salt. Add the beans and pour sauce over it.