" Paycheck" Scattered Brains

Each week, Dinner & a Movie on TBS serves up a very funny film and a movie-themed recipe. Check out Scattered Brains, created for the film Paycheck.

You will need:

  • 2 whole very fresh calves brains
  • All purpose flour for dredging
  • Clarified butter, as needed

Poaching Liquid

  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, sliced thinly
  • 1 whole bay leave
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 8 quarts cold water
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Lemon-Tomato Sauce

  • 3 large very ripe tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced fine
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Salt, fresh ground black pepper and chili flakes, to taste


  1. Place brains in a large stockpot, cover completely with warm, lightly salted water and soak 30 minutes. Drain the water and use gloved fingers and a metal skewer to gently remove the membrane and any traces of blood. Return the brains to the empty stockpot and cover with cold water. Allow the brains to soak 2 hours, changing the water every 30 minutes, until the water is nice and clear. Remove the brains from the water and slice the brains in half lengthwise (front to back).

  2. Combine the poaching liquid ingredients in the stockpot, add the halved brains and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and poach for 20 minutes. Remove brains from heat and submerge in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, blot brains dry and slice crosswise into 1” thick slices; set aside.

  3. Combine the lemon-tomato sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as desired and place in a warm spot until needed.

  4. Season the brain slices with salt and pepper, dredge well in flour, shake off the excess flour and set aside. Add sufficient clarified butter to coat the bottom of a large sauté pan and heat over a medium flame until quite hot. Place the brain slices in the hot pan and cook about 5 minutes on each side until very crisp and golden brown.

  5. Serve the sautéed brains on a bed of creamy polenta accompanied with the lemon-tomato sauce.

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