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Saltimbocca brain prepared by food writer Jacob Richler at his home in Toronto.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Hot, creamy brains in a salty, crisp pork shell is an unfailing crowd-pleaser (in some circles, anyway).

Servings: 6

Ready time: 20 minutes (+ 24 hours for soaking)



6 lambs’ brains, divided into lobes

12 large sage leaves

12 very thin slices prosciutto, no longer than 15 cm (6 inches)

Oil for deep-frying

Dipping sauce:

1/4 cup aged red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp minced oregano

2 tsp (preferably salt-packed) capers, rinsed, drained and minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Soak the brain lobes for 24 hours in cold water. Rinse, drain and pat dry with paper towels. Trim of stems and any other unpleasant appendages. Season generously with salt and pepper. Arrange prosciutto in individual horizontal slices. Place a leaf of sage at left edge of each one. Place a brain lobe on top of each sage leaf. Roll up each slice of prosciutto into a snug package, and thread a toothpick through the outside edge to hold the ham in place (otherwise it may unravel in the deep fryer).

Preheat deep fryer to 375 F. Deep fry brain rolls until bronzed and crisp – about four minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, capers, and season with salt and pepper. Drain crispy brain rolls briefly on paper towels. Carefully remove toothpicks with tongs. Then arrange rolls on platters with ramekins of dipping sauce.

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