Brain beignets or buñuelos de sesos are an old-fashioned dish consisting of small pieces of veal, lamb or pig brains coated with a batter usually consisting of flour, oil, egg and water or milk, then deep-fried in olive oil. They are traditionally garnished with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.
Brains, kidneys or trotters used to be in the menus of most of our traditional restaurants but much to our regret, they are not anymore. New generations of Spaniards have not even tested them but, despite that, modern top chefs are trying to bring offal out of oblivion.
Although these brain fritters are an unfashionable tapa nowadays, we do still love them —as much as we love pig’s trotters, veal or lamb tripes— and their recipe has to be part of our tapas repertoire. Furthermore, they are cheap and nourishing, with a high content of nutrients and vitamins, as well as very easy to make.
Do not panic and give them a chance. A hint: do not let your guests know what it is. Mark our words, they will thoroughly enjoy them, but knowing it is an offal tapa will certainly put your meal in danger…
- 6 lamb brains
- A carrot, chopped
- An Onion, chopped
- Some back peppercorns
- A sprig of parsley
- ½ cup (125ml) white wine
- Water to cover
- ¾ cup (100g) all-purpose flour, sieved
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (150ml) water or milk
- 2 egg whites, whipped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- A tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped
- Lemon wedges for garnish
- Soak the brains in fresh salted water to bleed them. Change the water two or three times until the water comes out clean.
- Drain and put them in warm water for 10 minutes, and then remove the thin membrane that covers them.
- Place them in a saucepan along with the onion, the carrot, the parsley, the peppercorns and the white wine, and cover with enough water. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to low and let them cook for 15 minutes.
- Drain the brains and reserve them always covered so that their surface does not get brownish.
- Mix the flour, the yolks, the oil, the salt, the pepper and the water (or milk) in a bowl.
- Fold in the whipped egg whites and mix thoroughly.
- Heat enough oil for frying and cut each brain into four pieces. Cover each piece in the batter and fry in the oil until golden.
- Serve with chopped parsley and lemon wedges if you like.
Tips for a perfect brain beignets or buñuelos de sesos tapa:
- Add the whole eggs, without whipping the egg whites, to the batter but then let it rest for 20 or 30 minutes before frying.
- You can use lamb, veal or pig brains if you like. Lamb or pig brains would need about 15 minutes to cook but veal would need 20 minutes.
- Add chopped parsley to the batter if you like for added flavor.
- Enjoy these brain fritters along with marinated cod sticks or a bowl of country salad for example, or search in our recipe index for other tapas to your taste.
Finally, just enjoy these brain beignets with a glass of chilled red wine and some crusty bread.