Beef tongue. I like it… it is a bit odd or uncommon going to a store and picking up a big cow tongue… probably doesn’t even sound appetizing to many I’m sure and a bit hard to work with, but I find it a versatile cut and with some preparation can be turned into tasty dishes. I think it makes a really good pâté, and a really great pasta sauce with tomatoes, onion, and fresh herbs. In Mexico, tacos de lengua are popular, although I’ve never seen them here in LA, but I’ll admit I have not been looking hard at all. I basically cooked this cut in salt, sugar and vinegar. I wanted to infuse acidity into the meat because of how fatty beef tongue is. Escabeche is very common in Spain, specially in fish preparations. Cooking/blanching fish in acidic ingredients like vinegar. I took a similar approach but decided to use my proudly purchased tongue with some staple asian ingredients. Soy sauce and rice vinegar.
1 cup soy sauce (tamari)
1 cups rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 beef tongue whole
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot , coarsely chopped
1 whole head of garlic cut in half
Radishes thinly sliced
Green onions, thinly sliced, and green stems whole
Sesame seeds, roasted
Add carrot, onion, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and enough water to cover the tongue by 1 inch. A beef tongue is a tough tough meat to break down. I would recommend using a pressure cooker for this muscle. Even though I cooked it for a little over an hour, I think it could easily withstand 2 hours and not fall apart. I don’t want it to fall apart. I want to be able to cut it and pan sear it eventually.
Once cooked, you can place it in an ice bath briefly before you proceed to remove the skin. The whole of the tongue is covered by very tough skin which will pull away easily after cooking. Use your fingers. Once the skin is remove, set aside. Strain the cooking liquid and transfer to a non reactive container. Place the tongue in the cooking liquid and allow to marinate in the fridge fora couple of days. I know, this is all time consuming it will pay off. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust the flavor of it, add more sugar, vinegar or soy sauce until it tastes delicious.
Take tongue out of the marinade and dry with kitchen towels. From the tip to the base, the tongue becomes less chewy and more fatty, experiment. The base of the tongue can be removed entirely. Its basically a complex system of membranes that connect the tongue to the lower jaw. Unless you grind it, this part of the tongue will not have a pleasant texture. Reserve for other purposes. I use slices from the section of the tongue closer to the base which are more tender. Sear on a skillet with a little vegetable oil and reserve.
For plating. Dice the slice of tongue into little cubes. Place your garnishes on the plate. Place tongue pieces over the radishes, drizzle with honey, add a few drops of sriracha sauce. Serve. The sweetness of the honey balances the acid that’s been infused in the meat. Sriracha sauce adds that something something that completes the dish in my opinion (or maybe I’m just addicted to this thing and would find ANY excuse to use it), and pairs well with the honey. And there it is, beef tongue escabeche to be served as an appetizer. Thanks for checking in! more recipes and techniques coming soon!