Tongue is a long-standing staple in our home. Holiday table or everyday meals, we absolutely love it. Preparing tongue is very simple, as long as you know a few tricks - and I am going to teach you all of them.
make sure the tongue is fresh. The best way is to get it from the butcher, but some supermarkets carry it too. Good sized beef tongue will weigh about 3-4 pounds.
Rince the tongue in cold water. Place in a large
pot, add in a parsley root. large carrot and unpeeled onion (you can use celery root, I just don't like the favor of it, purely personal quirk) Cover with cold water, make sure the water is at least two inches above the tongue - tongue has to cook a
long time and I'd rather not add water half way through if it boils out. Throw in a bay leaf or two and - this is my first trick - a few cloves or allspice. It won't affect overall taste of the finished product by making it too flowery or spicy, but
it adds greatly to the aroma and flavor.
Set to cook - high heat first, once it comes to boil reduce flame and continue on gentle boil for at least 1.5-2 hours, depending on the size of the tongue. I add salt and pepper at this point.
Skimming is not necessary, unless you are planning to use the broth (it can be used as stock in soups and stews), and even then you can just strain it. I generally don't bother.
At about 60-minute mark you may need to turn
the tongue over to make sure it cooks evenly.
After 90 minutes start checking the tongue - it should be fork-tender. Once you are sure it's ready turn off the heat and take the tongue out into a large bowl. Here comes the second
trick. Cow's tongue is covered with thick rubber-like skin. It needs to be removed while the tongue is hot, otherwise it fuses back on and you have to carve it off with a knife - losing the edible parts of the tongue and making it look unappealing.
So put the hot tongue in the bowl, set the bowl in your sink and open cold faucet. Let the cold water run into the bowl next to tongue, but not directly on it. Put on a pair of gloves and start peeling. Stick your hands under water to cool off
every now and then. If you have fish bone tweezers use them to grab and pull the skin. It usually comes of in large strips so the whole process should take no more than five minutes. It seems daunting but once you get the hang of it there's nothing
to it. My mom taught me to do this when I was ten.
Take your peeled tongue, pat dry with paepr towel and wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Let cool, slice and serve with your favorite condiment - we like it with horse radish or mayo.
Last trick – use the tip of the tongue to slice and serve. The thick end part is delicious but doesn’t look as pretty, however it is great julienned and added to salads – with radish or tomato and onion.