One of the key lessons of buying two whole cow’s heads in a two month span is each head has a tongue, so you have a few options at your disposal. First, you could leave it in its head of origin and cook it surrounded by its cranial neighbors. Or, you could embrace your inner “Game of Thrones” villain and remove the tongue for a separate application. Recently, I made beef sausages studded with tongue, but this time, I focused more on the tongue.
It still baffles me to see people recoiling at eating tongue. Tongue, beef tongue in particular, is eaten across many cultures and in most contexts prepared deliciously. One of my favorite ways to have tongue is wrapped in a tortilla, sprinkled with lime juice and topped with cilantro and onions, eaten while slightly drunk. The method of cooking that brings the tongue into the taco seems to accentuate the beefiness and the acidity and brightness from the cilantro and onions do a fantastic job of balancing the richness.
With a Saturday afternoon to experiment, a terrine came to mind forming bits of cooked tongue with cilantro, pickled onions and chilis binding it all with trotter gear, so I went to work. This all sounds more formal than what it was – tongue bubbling on the range while I sat back eating granola and drinking coffee. Once the tongue was peeled and chopped, I stirred the pieces with warmed trotter gear, chopped chilis from the garden, and a few spoonfuls of adobo sauce from a can of chipotles. After taking the tongue off of the heat, I tossed in cilantro and smoked pickled onions and turned the whole mixture onto a few sheets of clingwrap.
After rolling and tying the log, I hung it in the fridge overnight. The next day, I sliced and it sliced well. It was a disc of rich beef flavors counter balanced by pickled onion, chilis and cilantro. While the terrine sliced well, the aspect I think could be most improved would be to chop it more finely and set it in more trotter gear, so that I could find a way to get a char on the tongue. As with the tacos mentioned above and Mendez’s tongue pincho at Vera, that aspect makes the tongue so much more delicious.
- 1 cow’s tongue
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/4 cup pickled red onions
- 10 grams salt plus salt for water
- 2 tablespoons fresh chilis
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from your can of chipotles in adobo)
- 1/4 cup trotter gear
Step one: Boil tongue in salted water for 3 hours. Peel and chop.
Step two: Heat trotter gear and adobo until trotter gear is liquid. Stir chunks of tongue in trotter gear.
Step three: Stir in chilis, pickled onions, salt, and cilantro. Taste for seasoning.
Step four: Pour mixture into a prepared terrine or onto clingwrap, if you planning on making it into a log.
Step five: If working in a terrine. Press with weights and chill over night. If making into a log, wrap tightly with cling wrap, pierce wrap, wrap again, repeat until you have a sausage shaped roll condensed tightly. Tie with butcher twine and hang in a fridge overnight.
Step six: Once chilled, unwrap or un-terrine, slice about a centimeter thick. Enjoy with lime juice, tortilla chips and beer.