Give thy thoughts no tongue. (~Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3)
Mr. Tess went grocery shopping, and what did he find: a frozen 3 pound tongue! Oh no
room in the freezer, so what to make with it? I’ll give you no pictures of the tongue
in its original state, but if you search and find an image, don’t tell me about it!
Truth be told, I love tacos de lengua and have even made them myself, from scratch. And pickled tongue makes a lovely sandwich. Neither of these foods is even remotely Japanese, but a quick search on the net showed me that grilled thinly sliced beef tongue is a popular item on many restaurant menus, especially yakiniku places. The Japanese word for cow gyu (牛) is combined with the English word for tongue to become gyutan (牛タン). After the World War II, it became a speciality in Sendai, Japan—using cow tongues and tails leftover from the occupation forces. —from Wikipedia
Cooking a tongue is easy: wash it with cold water and salt, then boil it for a few minutes. Change the water, and cook with seasonings of your choice. The key to tenderness is low and slow with a very gentle simmer. When the meat is done, remove the tongue from the broth and easily pull the tough skin away. Almost like peeling fruit!
Boldness be my friend! (~Cymbeline, Act 1, Scene 6)
But grilling tongue means that it must be peeled before it’s cooked. Yes indeed: boldness! The tongue was still mostly frozen when I cut it in half to use the front half for gyutan. Not so terrible, really! Cutting the tough skin was a slippery job. Luckily this was a veal tongue, much less tough and the taste buds were much smaller—almost velvety. Mr. Tess sharpened a knife to a razor edge, and I managed to cut the meat into thin slices. They could have been thinner, paper thin, but once this part was finished, it looked beautiful!
- 1/2 veal tongue (about 1 1/2 pounds, tip end), partially thawed
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 small bunch of green onion brushes .
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp white sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (chili flakes)
- 1 pinch coarse/kosher salt
- 1tsp toasted black sesame seeds
- Lemon or Lime wedges
- Dipping sauce, recipe follows
Use a razor sharp knife (and possibly vice-grip pliers) to pull the tough skin from the partially frozen meat. Yes, a very messy and somewhat scary necessity! Not quite so disturbing with a calf tongue as it would be with an ox or cow tongue. Re-freeze the meat, and slice as thinly as you can. Paper thin is the goal!
Sprinkle salt over the tongue slices, then brush them with oil.
Make the green onion brushes. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, oil chili flakes, and salt in a small bowl. Toss the onions with the mixture and garnish with the sesame seeds.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add a batch of the thinly sliced tongue to the pan, in a single layer. Brush the slices with oil and turn over quickly. Cooking time is about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate, and cook another batch. Repeat until all the meat is cooked.
Garnish with the green onion brushes.
Serve with lemon or lime wedges, dipping sauce, and plain white rice and pickles.
Yummy link for this!
- 1 teaspoon of miso paste
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 4 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 small clove of garlic, grated finely
Add all ingredients together and stir together.
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