You can salt the tongue yourself in a brine; keep the tongue in it for 7 days. Alternatively, get a corned beef tongue from the butcher.
For some reason, a lot of people are squeamish about eating tongue. Like the heart, it’s nothing more than another muscle. Texture-wise, I would say it’s close to brisket or roast beef but a bit smoother. A week in the corning brine gives the tongue the exact same flavor as corned beef, and come March 17th almost everyone and their brother eats corned beef. So don’t fear ox tongue, there is no good reason to.
My local supermarket again surprised me with their wares. Every week, fresh tongue is available in cryovaced bags. I really don’t know if I would have found tongue so readily in California.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but cooking dishes from the cookbook is incredibly cheap, and this instance is no different. The ox tongue was so inexpensive I bought three of them.
After a week in the brine, I rinsed off each tongue and put them in a pot of water with carrots, leeks, celery, onions, a few heads of garlic, some peppercorns and a big bouquet garni. The water was brought up to a boil, and then dropped to a simmer for three hours.
Mr. Henderson gives instructions to peel the tongue right after it is removed from the water, as the rough skin covering the muscle comes off much easier. It was fairly easy, with the skin peeling off like old rubber being pulled off a basketball. I spent about 5 minutes peeling all three tongues.
Now, if I followed the recipe to the letter this would be the end of this weeks update. But at the end of the recipe Mr. Henderson gives nine different suggestions on what to do with the tongue once it was cooked. I’ll show you eight of the ways, with the ninth being next week’s update.
You can serve tongue:
Hot or cold. You can see how much firmer the cold tongue is compared to the heated pieces.
Broiled or fried. The fried tongue was very tasty, with nice crispy edges.
In a sandwich with English mustard and tomato. I managed to find a tiny little bottle of Colman’s mustard in one of the high end supermarkets. I’m a little sad that it isn’t more popular here in the states, as it is quite delicious. It puts normal yellow mustard to shame.
With a caper sauce. Mr. Henderson doesn’t have a caper sauce listed in the book, so I borrowed the pan sauce Alton Brown uses in this pan fried fish recipe.
With Horseradish or Green Sauce. Both of these sauces are listed in the book, so they’ll count toward my total.
Horseradish Sauce – “A very fine thing.”
Mr. Henderson asks that the horseradish be finely grated. He also mentions that “this can be quite an emotional experience and may bring tears to your eyes.” It was so emotional, that I had to take three ten minute breaks before I finished. Once I got done crying, I added a splash of lemon juice to keep the horseradish from changing colors.
Crème fraîche was folded into the grated horseradish and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I’ve never had a horseradish sauce like this before. I’m more used to the ultra hot, liquid like sauces. This was much firmer, with a mild heat. Next time I make prime rib I’ll be using this to go with it.
Green Sauce – “Green sauce is a wonderful thing and goes with almost every meat, roast, boiled, or cold; vegetables; and some fish. Its companions know no bounds. The parsleys are essential, the other herbs good additions–rejig the parsley if you’re not including any of them. Never use a food processor to make Green Sauce, as you will end up with a pulp rather than a textural delight.”
As you could tell from the description, this sauce is made primarily from herbs. Mr. Henderson calls for two kinds of parsley, dill, mint and tarragon. Also needed is garlic, capers and anchovies.
I chopped the herbs and the capers, my wife took care of the garlic and anchovies.
The garlic, anchovies, capers and black pepper were mixed into the herbs and then extra virgin olive oil was added until I had the proper consistency. I’ve been sitting here for three minutes trying to figure out how to describe Green Sauce. With the variety of herbs you get this zesty, sweet, savory mish-mash. It’s a very unique experience, and if you’d like to try it for yourself, Mr. Henderson has been kind enough to post the recipe here. He also lists a few recipes for dishes that I have already finished.
Three down, one hundred and twenty two to go.