Alice, my girlfriend, is 27 years old today. That’s her in the photo, aged 16. Alice is a fantastic cook, and she loves cookery books, so as a gift, I bought her a book of contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine, called Moorish, by Greg and Lucy Malouf. As she flicked through the new addition to her gastronomical library (which is already rather extensive), Alice came across this recipe for tiny brain omelettes with mint and Gruyère.
- 6 lamb’s brains, soaked in milk for 2 hours, or cold salted water overnight
- 100 ml (3.5 fl. oz.) vegetable oil
- lemon wedges
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- half an onion
- 1 litre (2 pints) cold water
- 2 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 spring onions (scallions) finely chopped
- 60 g (2 0z.) Gruyère, grated
- 30 g (1 oz.) parmesan, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
Place the brains in a large saucepan with all the poaching ingredients. Bring to the boil, then skim and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the brains to cool in the liquid. When they are cold, remove them from the liquid and split each in half.
To make the batter, put the eggs and yolks into a mixing bowl and whisk lightly with the spring onions, both cheeses, fresh and dried mint and seasoning, just enough to bring everything together.
Slice the brains and add them to the batter.
Preheat the oven to 100 °C (212 °F) and put your serving dish in to warm.
Pour the oil into a frying pan and heat until moderately hot. Blob spoonfuls of the brain mixture into the hot oil, using an egg-ring as a mould if you have one. We used little cookie cutters which worked too, but you can just as well go for the free form look. Cook the brains 3-4 at a time, frying until set and golden on the underside. Then carefully turn them over and fry on the other side. Be gentle, they are delicate! Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper, then keep them warm in the oven until all are cooked. Serve with lemon wedges.
Serves 4 for breakfast, or as a starter.