Every cow has a tongue. And everybody just wants to eat the fillet or the sirloin. Which means other cuts often go to waste, especially offal. Luckily the tongue can taste fantastic, as good as a top notch corned beef and even better when served with a beautiful fresh herb sauce.
- 1 large ox tongue, trimmed and rinsed (see Note)
- 1 onion, peeled and halved
- 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- handful of celery tops
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp salt, approximately
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup (loosely-packed) oregano leaves
- ½ cup (loosely-packed) basil leaves
- ½ cup (loosely-packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 lemon, zest finely grated and juice strained
- 1 tbsp salted capers, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, then rinsed
- 4 anchovy fillets, or to taste
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 1 hour
Cooling time 15 minutes
Soak the ox tongue in lightly salted cold water for 1 hour, then drain. Place the tongue in a saucepan large enough to hold it flat, then add enough water to cover – measuring the water as you go. Pop in the onion, bay leaves, celery tops, peppercorns and garlic and adjust the salt to about 1 tablespoon per litre of water added. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserts easily. Drain the tongue (you can keep the liquid to make soup or risotto, though it is salty), then refresh under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Peel and discard the skin, then slice the tongue across the grain into 1½ cm-thick pieces.
While the tongue is cooling, place all the ingredients for the salsa verde in a large mortar and pestle and pound until smooth. Alternatively, you can simply chop everything very finely with a knife, then combine with the oil and lemon juice.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a raging flame. Fry the tongue slices until golden brown on each side, then serve warm with the salsa verde.
• A decent butcher should be able to get a tongue for you at short notice. You may find it easier to buy a couple and cook them together to save energy. You can freeze the whole cooked tongue for a few weeks before using if you like.
This recipe is from Gourmet Farmer Afloat.