Project Tongue

There’s a first time for everything and it was time to cook tongue.

Like any first timer I turned to books and acquaintances for guidance. “My mother always made tongue,” is the common remark from those around me, but doesn’t really go beyond that. Cooking instructions for fresh beef tongue vary from book to book; some advise soaking for an hour, others scrubbing vigorously, and still others suggest just a plain rinse, or a more complex brining before cooking.
Most everyone concurs that peeling of the tongue happens after braising or boiling, except an old issue of Larousse Gastronomique which advised peeling and
rinsing before cooking!
Thus my plan of attack became a bit of an improvisation.
Rinse in cold water, put the tongue in a deep pot – a stock pot works well – add leeks, garlic, carrots, thyme, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover at least 3 inches above the tongue.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 hours. This gives you time to plot out how you’re going to serve it. Tongue can be served hot or cold as a salad or sandwich or taco filling, ¬†and seems to enjoy a myriad of sauces from a remoulade or madeira sauce to a la Veracruzana.
Test the doneness with a long narrow knife, just like you would a baked potato. There should be no resistance.
Some books advise letting the tongue cool in its stock while others suggest quick removal and peeling of the tough (white-coloured) layer. I opted for the latter. I removed the fat but that’s not really necessary, I don’t think.
Slice as thinly as possible.
I decided to serve it slightly warm with a warm potato salad Рpotatoes were cooked in some of the tongue stock Р beets tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, and a horseradish-caper remoulade. The tongue was tender and rich with a silky texture.
It’s considered offal, but I think it’s divine.

One Response to “Project Tongue”

  1. Theabroma says:

    OMG! Shelora, it does look divine! I am a big tongue fan, especially smoked. Now you have made me want to go find one and cook it.


    BTW: the pickles are perfect

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