February Deep Plate Blog Entry

Crispy Brik wrapped Fox Fire Farm lamb sweetbreads with a Madeira cream sauce and shiitake mushrooms

For February’s entry I decided to do some sweetbreads.  My mother in law was staying with us and said she really liked them so I figured lets put something together for Deep Plate as well.  I had some Fox Fire Farm sweetbreads in the freezer that they had sent me as a sample. Their lamb is outstanding.  I have used it on several occasions and can tell you it is superior to any other lamb I have had in the US.  Their ranch is just south of Durango in Ignacio and I will have to get out there some day.  This is great motorcycling country, so I can imagine a road trip in the future.

It is more of a challenge to get a plate together for a picture when you have kids running around you while you work, but the advantage at home is that I have some cool props to play with.  I also used a tripod for this shot and opened my aperture all the way up as it was the end of the day and natural light was fading.

First thing some of you might ask is what is and where can I find Brik dough.  It can be referred to as Ouarka or Burek and is from the countries that form the Maghreb,  meaning Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia (the same area that brought you Barbary Pirates).  They traditionally use it for a dish called Brik à l’oeuf, where they fold a disc of brik dough in four to form a triangle with vegetables and a raw egg in the center.  They then pan fry it nice and crisp and serve it as an appetizer.

The dough is more versatile and less fragile than filo which it is often compared to.  It has a tendency to dry out quickly and must be thoroughly brushed with oil before you use it to wrap an item.  It is resilient and has a bit of the feel of a fine leather.  A double layer will suffice to get the flaky crust you will enjoy.  If you do more you will lose crispness in your dish.  The closest oriental dough would be lumpia from the Philipines and Indonesia which are also made from wheat.  Both are compared to crêpes and as a matter of fact if you buy them from Italco they will come to you in a case called “shape a crepe” with a bunch of Gaelic designs on it to make you think you are in Brittany.  I almost returned them when they sent them to me once, thinking they didn’t know what I was looking for.  Unlike lumpia or Crêpes they become somewhat translucent so you can put herbs or spices in between the layers and they will show through.

The French are all intimately aware of them, but they are just starting to become known in the US.  Don’t be afraid they are cool and you can use them to wrap all kinds of product (works great on fish) or you can also use them to create compressed layers for a Napoleon.  Try them out they’re fun.