Where have I been? Taking an August vacation like the French? No. I've been cooking tongue. Now that the Canadian part of my North American book deal is finalized and I have a publisher in north and south of the border I am earnestly working on ODDBITS.
Now before you think I am crazy to do a book on offal this is not an offal book, it is a book about underused animal parts, some of which are offal.
This is my first attempt to interest you n the subject. While tongue is often placed in the offal category it really good solid muscle meat like beef tenderloin only tastier and cheaper. Pictured here are two beef tongues both just over 1kg / 2 1/4 pounds in weight. Why two? To reassure you that those gray patches on the tongue are nothing to worry about. Some tongues have them and some don't. Both of these tongues were frozen, so after thawing I brined them.
Here you can see a tongue in the brine. Three days is long enough for a tongue this size, it will give the meat a better texture, more flavour, and not make it too salty. Weight it down so it is submerged in the brine.
Drain and rinse the tongue, place it in a large pot with some aromatics, cover it well with cold water and cook, partially covered, skimming from time to time. It will take a good 2 to 2 1/2 hours the tongue must be very tender when pierced with a skewer. Remove the tongue from the cooking water and set on a plate. As soon as you can touch the tongue, dip your fingers in ice water as it will make it easier to handle, make an incision in the back of the tongue and lift up the skin. Peel off the skin with your fingers, keep dipping them into the ice water and be careful when you reach the tip not to damage the meat.
Next remove the fat and gristle at the base of the tongue. The first photo shows a cooked tongue, in the second it is peeled and trimmed. What to do now? Simply slice and eat in a sandwich or with a good sharp salsa verde. Or quickly warm some slices on the grill, brush with a mustard glaze and eat - delicious. Don't believe me? Try it!