Oh yes, you read that right. Calves’ fry, also known as prairie oysters, Rocky Mountain oysters, and animelles in French, are the testicles from a bull calf. And I’m going to show you how to prepare them and cook them.
Now we’re going to see how many fans I really have.
First, the good news. We do not have kosher steers. As Jews, we do not eat neveilah, limbs that have been torn from a living animal. It’s actually a Noahide commandment as well. That means these could not come from the process of castrating bull calves. The other good news, for the bulls I suppose, is that the process of castration does not seem to hurt them in the least. So kosher calves’ fry at least is just another organ meat.
It should come as no surprise to you that chefs dig organ meat. I prefer the term variety meat myself, but I’m comfortable with either. There is something about being able to turn something that other people can’t fathom eating into a dish that is remarkably delicious that chefs can’t resist. And truth be told, if you don’t want to eat it, there’s more for us. Oh, and they were pretty cheap for something this perishable, so there’s that, too.
The first time I was ever offered calves’ fry, it was in Tzfat and I was 13 years old. I passed. Had I only known then what I know now. These are unctuous morsels, and I don’t fling that term around lightly. I prepared four, but could only eat one of them. They’re firmer than sweetbreads, almost as rich as liver, and took to a variety of cooking methods.
The Raw Testicles
The cryovac contained four pieces which had been cut down the middle.
Peeling the Outer Skin
Starting the peel is like starting a sticker from the corner. It's a little tough at first, but once you get it started, the meat separates from the skin easily.
Separating the Outer Skin
Use your finger sliding it between the skin and the meat until the skins come away. The yield is rather low, but one piece per person is more than enough.
The Peeled Testices
Once the testicles are peeled, you now have to decide how you want to prepare them.
Breading the Sliced Testicles
I made them Southern Fried chicken style, which I prefer to breadcrumbs, but you can use them if you like.
Frying the Slices
Fry them in moderately hot oil for about 3 minutes per side. Drain.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
The finished dish. Eat them hot with some cracked black pepper and your choice of condiment.
Pan Seared Calves' Fry with Fig Butter
Pan seared with a touch of seasoning, served with fig butter (like applesauce from figs, no sugar added) and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Calves' Fry Fra Diavolo
Saute fries sliced lengthwise dredged in flour. Remove from pan. Add tomato sauce and hot pepper flakes, and I added some black olives. Return the fries to the pan and turn once.
Grilled Calves' Fry
Grilled straight, these tasted the best, in my opinion.