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Ox tongue November 23, 2010

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Beef, Innards.
Tags: ,

As with when I cooked pig’s ears, I feel it’s only fair to warn readers that you might find some of the photos in this post rather graphic – scroll down below the pretty orchid at your own peril…

By Flickr user Donsutherland1

In my memories of childhood, tongue has a role in a strong food-related memory. I’d read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and had asked my mother what tongue was. She’d explained that it was, indeed, a tongue, which of course I thought was the most disgusting thing ever. My mother, being the person that she is, had then gone out and bought some slices of tongue, and made me a sandwich with the meat inside. After I proclaimed it was delicious, she told me what it was and thought my reaction was the quite hilarious. I was not as amused.

Over the years, I’d certainly eaten tongue in restaurants more than once, but I’d never cooked one myself before. On the spur of the moment while at the market recently, I came home with one ox tongue.

My first place to look for inspiration was Nose to Tail Cooking, and not only were there multiple suggestions about how to deal with tongue, Ryan over at Nose to Tail at Home had already cooked tongue, and had prepared it in a variety of ways.

To start with, I had to boil the tongue. I put it in a pot with onion, carrots, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, star anise and some chilli flakes. I added water and simmered it for about three hours.

After three hours, I took it out of the pot and patted it dry with some paper towels. It was then a matter of peeling the skin off. While I had been concerned that it wouldn’t come off easily, I found I was able to pull it off without any assistance from a knife. Here’s some action shots of me peeling the tongue taken by H, as I was otherwise involved…

For some reason, it surprised me that the taste buds were still visible after I’d peeled the tongue – for some reason I thought it would be smooth and look less tongue-like! I let it cool slightly, to make it easier for slicing, and then sliced it into a combination of thick and thin pieces.

To finish the tongue, I grilled a couple of the thick slices and fried some of the thinner ones – I was curious to see if there was much difference between them. I made a puree of broad beans to provide some contrast to the tongue.

The fried pieces were crispy and provided a rich hit of beef flavour in each mouthful. They were nice, and were a nice snack when they were cold. However, the standout for me was the grilled tongue – it was almost crispy and firm on the outside, while the inside was soft and smooth. Many recipes suggest brining the tongue prior to cooking, and while I really liked the flavour of the tongue as it was, I’d definitely like to try brining it in the future.

As for my mother – well I don’t think cooking her some tongue would be punishment for her. It may take many years, but I will have my revenge somehow…



1. Teena - November 24, 2010

I’m still a bit.. icky.. about the pig’s ears but tongue is something we ate quite alot when I was a child. I remember having to peel it when it was cooked – the only part about it I disliked.
I haven’t made any myself in ages.. I get cooked ones from my butcher now and then. Never tried to fry or grill it though – sounds delicious. Must try. Thanks for the tip 🙂

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