Cemitas de Lengua (Mexican Tongue Sandwiches) Recipe

Photograph: Chichi Wang

Put chunks of crispy browned tongue in between slabs of avocado and cheese, and I don't know if there's a better bite of food out there.

Recipe Details

Cemitas de Lengua (Mexican Tongue Sandwiches) Recipe

Active 30 mins
Total 3 hrs
Serves 4 to 6 cemitas


  • 1 cow or veal tongue, about 1 1/2 pounds

  • 2 medium onions

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, 3 tablespoons liquid reserved

  • 4 to 6 cemita rolls, halved and lightly toasted when ready to serve

  • 2 to 3 ripe avocados

  • 4 ounces fresh Mexican cheese, such as Oaxaca cheese

  • 1 tomato, thinly sliced

  • A few leaves iceberg lettuce, shredded

  • 1/2 cup crema or sour cream


  1. Place tongue in a medium saucepan Split one onion in half and add to pot. Add cold water to cover and season generously with salt. Place on a burner over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting. Cover and cook until completely tender, about 2 1/2 hours, topping up with extra water if necessary.

  2. Transfer tongue to cutting board and discard cooking liquid (or save, if desired). Carefully peel outer membrane off of tongue and discard. Chop tongue into 1-inch pieces.

  3. Finely dice remaining onion. Heat one tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and 3 tablespoons liquid and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside. Using a potato masher, food mill, or food processor, mash beans until chunky puree is formed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet.

  4. Heat remaining two tablespoons oil over high heat until shimmering. Add tongue and cook without moving until well browned on first side, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. To Assemble: Spread a few spoonfuls of black bean mash on the bottom half of each toasted roll. Add the tongue, then layer in avocado, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Spoon over with crema, then add the top bun. Serve immediately.

Special Equipment

3-quart sauté pan

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
769 Calories
46g Fat
59g Carbs
33g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 769
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 16g 79%
Cholesterol 148mg 49%
Sodium 886mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 33g
Vitamin C 43mg 216%
Calcium 313mg 24%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 959mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)