Ris de veau or sweetbreads, made from the thymus gland of the calf, are a big French favourite, as are ris d’agneau (lamb sweetbreads).
There are countless recipes for ris de veau—the one with mushroom and cream perhaps the most popular—while lamb sweetbreads are often fried or braised.
Did you ever wonder, as I used to, why they are called sweetbreads in English? It’s because they have a richer and sweeter taste than typical meat, and the Old English word for flesh is bræd.
Image by Pierre-Olivier Carles