Lamb testicles for sale in the souk in Damascus — these are a lot more veined than the norm; also it is not often that you find them hung like this. The butcher peels and discards the outer membrane before weighing and cutting them the way you want.
A few days ago, Serious Eats tweeted about yak testicles. I have never tried them but I love lamb testicles and have been eating them forever. Well, from when I could chew. They are considered a great delicacy in Lebanon and I find their soft, melting texture and subtle flavour irresistible. Of course, they need to be very fresh for that subtle, clean taste but this is not a problem in the Middle East where they slaughter lambs and sell the meat and offal the same day.
Often when I go to Beirut, I call my mother from London to ask her to prepare something delicious and she always gets me testicles. Except that last time I was there, the butcher had diced them instead of cutting them in wedges and my mother hadn’t noticed. A disaster, at least for me. It is more difficult to control the cooking time when they are cut so small and as a result, they can easily overcook and turn rubbery.
So, I had to wait till the next day to call the butcher and ask him to send us some more, but cut in wedges this time. The funny thing was that the new lot was paler and a lot softer than the diced ones. Perhaps they were even fresher although I didn’t find out — I left Lebanon before I could ask him.
In any case, I dipped them in a little seasoned flour and fried them in butter for a minute or so on each side. Then I squeezed a little lemon juice over them as they finished cooking and enjoyed. They were just perfect, even if they don’t look like much in the picture.
And then there was one…
The sad thing is that I can no longer find lamb testicles easily in London. My Lebanese butcher who used to have them no longer sells them, and the Turkish butcher I go to in Green Lanes only has them in winter. Luckily, I am going back to Lebanon soon and I will be calling my mother to place my order. But not diced, please!