Monday 14 September 2015

Tongue's a-bub-bubblin'

Someone had to babysit the tongue. It is, as I write, a-bubblin’ and bouncin’ in the that there pot. It’s raining out. My instructions are to wait for the white stuff to flake off: if you’ve ever looked at your own tongue in the mirror after burning it, you’ll know what I’m looking for. Takes about two hours for a tongue this big and by ‘big’ I mean a forearm’s worth of muscle tuned to plucking blades of grass. Big enough for it not to be ready in time for dinner last night by 9 o’clock so we had Italian instead and more than one aperitif.

Tongue’s great, though I never thought I’d say it. But then, I’ve had to back down from higher mountains I’ve talked my way up. For years (3) I’ve maintained zero interest in the more internal of internal meats; not that I constantly had to defend myself but the suggestion has, on more than one occasion, come up. Turns out most of these things (minus kidneys) are delicious. The cow version of them anyway. Once I was tasked to make an extra sheep’s liver into something riffed from Ottolenghi’s Plenty. I managed to make it green but it was gross.

In calf’s tongue I’ve tasted the tenderest of pork loins, a proper fall-apart-at-the-mere-suggestion-of-a-fork pot roast and a very convincing sandwich filling at a (where else?) Brooklyn deli of the New Order. The stock it leaves over is a meal in itself and is something that, I think, should be served in small paper cups steaming hot in the snow to go.

Serve with a proper potato salad (by which I mean ONLY: good, small potatoes, cider vinegar, sunflower oil, finely chopped shallot, leftover cooking water (warm) salt and pepper and maybe some spring onion), a caper-mustard sauce made with tongue jus on the side or in a warm, buttered roll with a shred of red onion and mustard.

Tongue’s done.

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