Today’s ugly bits are testicles.
sigh. Ok, when you get over your giggle/gagging fits I’ll go on. No double entendres, no puns — at least, none intended.
The testicles with which I’m most familiar are beef. I’ve had goat testicles once so I’ll touch on that before I quit.
If you buy them whole, you’ll discover they look a lot more like a thick sausage than a ball. They are pretty much pure protein. (No, not a bad joke.)
Taste and texture wise… ok, texture first. Think of a veal tenderloin. mmmm, smooth, buttery, melt in the mouth. Now think even smoother. Tastewise it depends on the age. Testicles from calves are, well, like that veal tenderloin. There’s a beef taste but it’s very mild and mellow. If you get them from a bull, however, they’re a lot gamier. Not bitter or salty or nasty, just kill that thought right there. More like the difference between wild and farmed salmon, or older wild game. It’s a stronger, definite beef flavor.
Now the way most people get these is as deep fried slices — sort of a deep fried chicken fried steak. The reason is pretty simple. You mostly taste the batter and the oil, and since people get their minds wrapped around what they’re eating instead of tasting it, well, that’s how they can manage then brag “I ate Rocky Mountain Oysters.’
Me? My wife and daughter won’t touch them, so I don’t any more. When I did, however… The single most important thing to keep in mind is their high protein content. You can heat them or you can cook them to death and they’ll be tender. Anything in between, without special effort, and they’re like eating tough leather. For what it’s worth my most consistent “special effort” is braising of some sort. So what do I do?
Ever have or make veal parmigiana? Slice the testicles into cutlets just as you would the veal tenderloin. It works perfectly.
In fact, ANY dish where you’d use veal cutlets can be made with this, and unless the people are true gourmands they aren’t going to be able to tell the difference.
It’s different enough in appearance that I wouldn’t use it as a carpaccio — not unless the people eating don’t care, anyway. Oh, it tastes great that way, but the “it’s balls” factor causes too many blocks for most folk.
Now before I go, I said I’d mention goat’s testicles. They’re smaller — a LOT smaller. Provided you don’t tell people what they are till it’s too late to purge the stomach (say, three or four days, or weeks, later), they’re a great addition to a stew or gumbo. Toss them in early enough that they go past the leather stage — nobody wants to eat small hackeysacks.
Cheap pseudo-veal. That’s the basic way to think of it and use it. And unless you tell, pretty much NOBODY is going to know.