Located in the southernmost part of the Netherlands, you will find Château Neercanne, a term synonymous with gastronomy, a place where European treaties were once signed and the most romantic of weddings were once officiated in the gardens (a Unesco Heritage site). The wine cellars in the adjacent caves are world famous, but more famous still, are the culinary skills of master chef Hans Snijders, who has been cooking up stars here since 1985. Hans knows how to treat traditional French cuisine with respect, and is a master in sauces and cooking meat to perfection. Despite having been at the helm for more than 30 years, Hans is still bursting with energy and equally enjoys the young talent of his two right-hand men, Camiel Hennig and Gilbert von Berg. Do they prepare veal in the kitchens at Neercanne? The estouffade of veal cheeks has been on their menu for over 20 years and will never disappear. Guests make special journeys just for that. “When the butcher came in with the cheeks for the first time, I had never seen them. Then I found a recipe in a book dating back to the year 1800, and that’s when I started experimenting. We have sold thousands upon thousands! But veal has so much more to offer, like the rump tail. This is a beautiful cut that hardly anybody has ever heard of and it is perfect for making a delicious tartare.”
Rinse the sweetbreads for 15 minutes in cold running water and put to one side for 24 hours in 2 litres of water and 20g of salt. Rinse very well again and simmer for 7 minutes on a low heat in 2 litres of water and 20g of salt. Cool slightly and remove the outside membrane. Place the sweetbreads between two towels in a bowl, and compress for a minimum of 24 hours. Cut the sweetbreads into small cubes of 20g each, coat with flour and set to one side for at least 15 minutes. This will ensure that more flour gets absorbed and the sweetbreads will be crunchier when seared. Just before serving, pan fry them in walnut oil briefly on all sides. For the glaze, reduce the ingredients until syrupy, but be careful not to burn it. For the sauce, put the garlic in 50g butter to sweat, but avoid browning. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil and thicken using an immersion blender for a minimum of 20 seconds until smooth. Clean the pearl onions, cook for 1 minute in salty water and rinse in cold water. String the beans and cut into very thin strips (julienne). Fry the cleaned aniseed toadstools in a knob of butter until golden brown. Glaze the pieces of sweetbread at the very last minute; dividing them onto deep plates, adding the beans and the pearl onions, coating it thinly and evenly with the sauce.
800g veal sweetbreads, 200ml walnut oil, 200g aniseed toadstools, 100g string beans, 12 fresh pearl onions, flour.
For the truffle glaze
200ml veal jus, 100ml poultry bouillon, 200ml truffle jus, 1 dstspn chopped summer truffle.
For the truffle sauce
50+100g butter, 1/8 clove of garlic, 50ml poultry bouillon, 80ml truffle jus.
Season the veal cheeks. Sear firmly on all sides in olive oil, add the mushrooms (cleaned) and fry in the same pan. Deglaze with sherry and add the bouillon and the two jus. Lower the heat, then cover and simmer for 150-180 minutes. Cool the meat in the cooking liquid, then take it out and reduce the liquid to make the jus. Remove the mushrooms, add the winter truffle, and thicken with cold butter. Season to taste with 5 drops of sesame oil. Discard the outside leaves of the conical cabbage; loosen the rest of the leaves and remove the veins. Cook al dente in salted water, drain and season with salt and pepper, then roll up tightly using plastic food wrap. Rub with melted butter and place in the fridge for 2 hours. Slice into 5-cm pieces and steam just before serving. Sprinkle chopped truffle and hazelnut on top and stand them upright on the plate. Place the hot veal cheeks next to it with some pureed potatoes. Cover generously with jus and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.
4 veal cheeks (fat removed), 20ml olive oil, 100g mushrooms, 50g medium-dry sherry, 250g beef stock, 250g veal jus, 100g truffle jus, 25g butter, 25g brunoise of winter truffle, sesame oil.
For the garnish
creamy pureed potatoes, 1 small conical cabbage, melted butter, 1 dstspn chopped truffle, 1 dstspn roasted and chopped hazelnuts, toasted sesame seeds.
For the tartare, finely chop the meat and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Season to taste and put in a cool place for at least 1 hour to allow the flavours to infuse. For the glaze, bring all of the ingredients, except the cornstarch and balsamic vinegar, to the boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in the balsamic vinegar and use it to thicken the liquid. Just before serving, deep-fry the cubed neck of veal until crunchy, remove any excess oil and coat with the glaze. For the sweet and sour onion, peel the red onion, divide into 8 pieces and separate the layers. Bring the rest of the ingredients to the boil, add the onion and take directly off the heat. Leave it to cool in the liquid. For the vinaigrette, thicken the jus with the potato starch. Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste. Brunoise the red pepper and pour boiling liquid from the red onion over the top. Place in the fridge and add some of the brunoise to the vinaigrette before serving. Place the tartare on the plate using a rectangular cutter to make the right shape. Divide the different garnishes around the plate and pour the vinaigrette along the sides.
8 cubes of stewed neck of veal, borage flowers, nasturtium leaves (cut into regular shapes), nasturtium flowers, crisps made from Nicola potatoes and seasoned with black pepper, beetroot crisps, basil emulsion, piccalilli, 4 boiled quail eggs.
For the tartare
350g rump tail (veal), 10g finely-chopped chives, 10g salt, 100g finely-chopped sundried tomatoes (in oil), 25g tomato ketchup, 75g olive oil, 30g roasted and finely-chopped pine nuts, 40g chopped capers.
For the glaze
100g tomato ketchup, 100g sweet soy sauce, 100g Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar, 150g ginger syrup, 50g balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp potato starch.
For the sweet and sour red onion
1 red onion, 150g white vinegar, 50g water, 1 clove, 1/2 bay leaf. 1 dstspn granulated sugar, pinch of salt.
For the red pepper vinaigrette
100ml juices from the red pepper, 10g white wine vinegar, 8g granulated sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp potato starch, 100ml good-quality olive oil, 1 red pepper.