A fried brain sandwich consists of fried sliced calves’ brains on sliced white bread, originating in the USA. They were once widely consumed in Indiana and the Ohio River valley but are now slightly less common, with just a few restaurants still selling the delicacy.
In Indiana, fried brain sandwiches are typically accompanied by fried potatoes and onion rings. They are considered to be one of the most unusual dishes in the world.
Origin & Cultural Significance
One of the original variations of the fried brain sandwich was invented in the 1880s in St. Louis. However, over time, the demand for it has decreased significantly mostly due to concerns over mad cow disease.
Nevertheless, these sandwiches are featured every year at the city’s West Side Nut Club Fall Festival.
A fried brain sandwich consists of fried sliced calves' brains on sliced white bread, originating in the USA.
For the sandwich:
- Garlic (with skin) - 1 head
- Black peppercorns in a cheesecloth
- Bay leaf - 1
- Fresh herbs – 1 bundle
- Brains – 2 (pork, lamb, or calf)
- All-purpose flour (for coating)
- Eggs - 2
- Milk - 1/2 cup
- Bread crumbs - 1 cup
- Vegetable oil - 1 qt
- Freshly baked buns (split in half) - 2
For the green sauce:
- Parsley (leaves only) - 1 bunch
- Dill - 1/2 bunch
- Small can of anchovy fillets (finely chopped) - 1
- Garlic (finely grated) - 12 cloves
- Capers (chopped) - 1 tbsp
- Extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
- Freshly grounded black pepper
- Begin by taking the brains and washing them with cold water.
- Next, take a 2-quart pot and pour water in it. Once it starts steaming, throw in the herbs, garlic, and peppercorns. Place the brains in the water and cook for about 15 minutes in the concoction. This will help provide the dish with an aromatic flavor.
- After 15 minutes, take out the brains from the water and drain them in a dry bowl or on a plate.
- Now, take 3 bowls. Add flour to one of the bowls, whisked eggs with milk to the other, and breadcrumbs to the third.
- Carefully, cover each brain with flour, then dip it in the egg mixture, and lastly cover it in the breadcrumbs. If you prefer your meat with an additional layer of crunch, then repeat the procedure twice.
- It’s time to take a deep-frying pan and add oil to it. Heat it up to 360 °F and deep-fry the brains until they turn golden brown and become crunchy. It may take around 3 minutes. Once they attain their golden color, transfer them onto paper towels to get rid of the excess oil.
- Now, take a saucepan and add a little butter to it. Place the buns on it and toast them until you obtain a light brown color. Once done, transfer the freshly prepared fried brain onto the buns and add your preferred toppings.
- To make the parsley green sauce, take the herbs and finely chop them. Combine them with garlic, anchovies, and capers. Pour a little bit of olive oil into the concoction until it obtains a smooth texture. Add a little bit of black pepper, and there you have it!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 466mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g
Photo Credit: Tim Schapker