A crispy veal tongue sandwich with horseradish, bitter greens, and a creamy, tangy tarragon sauce.
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A Mexican beef tongue sandwich with black beans, avocado, and crema.
Tongue is a stress-free option for the grill. You simmer the tongue in water or stock, adding aromatics and spices. If I'm really pressed for time and mental reserves, I may do nothing more than plop a tongue into a pot with water and keep the heat on low. A few hours of simmering does the bulk of the work. Once simmered, you peel the tongue and cut it into thickish slabs, perfect for tossing on the grill. Because tongue is so fatty, you don't have to worry about it getting tough or dry.
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Browning is key to great tongue tacos, adding a bit of crispiness to the meltingly rich meat.
These Bite-Your-Tongue Tacos from Joshua and Jessica Applestone's The Butcher's Guide to Well-Raised Meats were my first foray into the world of tongue cookery, and I have to say upfront that there was a teeny-tiny amount of apprehension. But knowing full well the joy that comes with a plate of lengua tacos, I sucked it up.
Not only does cooking a tongue sous-vide make for complete set-it-and-forget-it ease (as it does with any braised or confit dish), it also creates a more flavorful finished product as the tongue slowly stews in its own juices.
Most of us who buy tongues at the market are used to seeing rounded curves on either end of the organ—not just the tip of the tongue, which is by default curved, but also on the meaty end of the tongue. More or less severed at the back of the mouth, the tongue emerges autonomous like some free-floating agent from the rest of the head. It was only after I began apprenticing at Fleisher's that I noticed the way the organ connects to muscles at the base of the skull.
Duck tongues? Wait, ducks have tongues? Yes, and the organ is actually a fatty delicacy. Barely two inches long, the tongue is small and flimsy but tastes intensely ducklike. When freshly fried, duck tongues are as addictive as potato chips.