I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Friday, 9 August 2013

miscellany: beef tongue

Yes, really. 

Soooo... yeah. Here goes.
I love classic literature and it seems that without fail, when the genteel folk had a picnic or cold lunch (oops, luncheon), one of the items on the list is cold tongue, or jellied tongue, or tongue sandwiches. Which sounded weird. I've never eaten, let alone cooked, one.
This is pretty much my face throughout.

This will go down as the first time I've spent a cooking exercise at least mildly repulsed by what I was working with. My general reaction throughout is summed up as, "ew". So eloquent.

So it starts with, yup. A tongue. A big, greyish-pink, flabby tongue that the farmer we buy our beef from tells me is worth more per pound in Europe than the rest of the cuts of beef. Interesting. Oddly enough, she included the tongue for no extra charge with the rest of the large order of beef I was picking up. Hmm, wonder why?


While I taste it, can it taste me?

IT HAS TASTE BUDS. I can't get past the tongue-ish-ness of this thing. I had read to scrub it and then soak it for a few hours, changing the cold water frequently. The whole time I scrubbed, feeling the rough taste buds, I thought... you guessed it. Ew. 

It did not help matters that while it soaked, the cows who spend the summer here got out. While they stood looking at me before they got shooed back into the pasture, one put out her tongue and then STUCK IT UP HER NOSE. Yup, cleaned her nose with it. Did I mention ew?

The onions look good. 
After soaking, it went into the pot with fresh water, peppercorns, bay leaves, and onion, to simmer gently for several hours. It can't be cooked fast as it would basically end up like a tire. So it simmered away, smelling pretty good actually, but still looking like several kinds of nasty.

Titus: "NOM NOM NOM!"
Once it finished, I was supposed to peel off the outer layer. Oh, good, I thought, that will take off the taste buds and it will be less like what it is. But just removing the outer layer of the whitish tongue left me with... a greyish-brown tongue. Ugh. 

At least Titus was enjoying the process, and loved every little bit he got.

I'm still not convinced.

But, I'm happy to report, once I cut down through the next layer, it looked more like a pork tenderloin (wishful thinking? Perhaps). Hooray! A piece of meat I've dealt with. Into the fridge it went to chill.

Today for lunch: cold tongue sandwiches. Thinly sliced tongue on dark rye bread with yellow and grainy dijon mustard. And...

But... yeah, it tasted pretty good!

It was pretty good, actually. It tastes like, well, beef. The texture is the oddest thing about it (once you're past the IT'S A TONGUE thing. Which I am not past yet, for the record) as it tastes like roast beef but is much, much more tender than any cold roast beef I've ever had.

It's still kind of weird.


Heather T said...

A couple of years ago Andrew cooked tongue for us. The kids were all totally "ew" about it. He brined it for about a week in the fridge so everytime we opened the fridge it was there sticking out at us. When he cooked it I sliced it into very thin slices and we piled plenty of salsa verde onto it but the children kept being repulsed by feeling the taste buds on their taste buds!

barb said...

Hi, Heather! I laughed at the phrase "it was there sticking out at us" - it is a pretty nasty looking thing! I had read that it's often used in Mexican food - might be fun to try with the leftovers.