30 September 2010

Ox tongue with green sauce

Tongue. There is something decidedly old-school about tongue, and especially its smell: corned beef and wartime mess-rooms as well as an animal hit of dog food.

It is pure muscle. There are no bones and once the slightly weird looking bit at the bottom where it attaches to the mouth has been trimmed away there is no gristle. Having been already poached for another dish and then frozen this ox's tongue had already had its skin peeled off and was ready to go. I decided to go for green sauce as a suitably peppy sauce and serve it with mash and some simple vegetables.

My green sauce = lots of parsley, a good amount of olive oil and much smaller amounts of Dijon mustard, raw garlic, capers, caper juice, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. But I get the impression you can fiddle around plenty and that its make-up differs greatly from country to country. Other things with big and bashy flavours would be welcome: anchovy, dried chilli, herbs.

The tongue was cut into strips and cooked in a heavy cast-iron griddle. It was served with white asparagus which wouldn't perhaps have been first choice but needed eating. Something a bit humbler would be better here maybe - swede, carrots, cabbage, sprouts.

Check the angel wings Fergus Henderson talks about

The tongue is bouncy and meaty. I feel that freezing may have toughened the outer layer somewhat but the inside part was very nice and looked the part with the charred griddle lines.

Halva for pudding.


  1. This looks great. You know, i'm a pretty non-squeamish person, i have gutted, hacked, plucked, smeared, pulled and wrenched with the best of them. The only thing that sends a little shiver of horror down my spine is peeling tongue...brrr.... That said, it is very tasty and worth the shudder. This dish looks great, i love the way it's simply cooked and presented. And i bet the green sauce went well.

  2. That looks very tasty. Never had ox tongue tha way but did have some lovely little grilled pig tongues at Bread and Wine.

    Never got around to cooking one myself and the peeling never looks that much fun.

  3. The peeling is indeed an interesting stage - quite a special sensory experience of feeling the roughness of the tongue and the skin come off like a piece of rubber leaving a mirror image of dimples and taste-buds behind. I like it fried/grilled as it crisps up and doesn't taste too fatty, unlike having it just plain sliced in butties. Glad you're enjoying the read!