It’s a scary looking thing, a raw ox tongue. But it’s actually very easy to cook and served, as here, with a mustardy celeriac remoulade and salty, sharp caperberries it makes a fabulous starter or light lunch.
This is the latest recipe in my collaboration with Nicola Chapman from Carr Farm in the beautiful Waveney Valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Nicola’s Belted Galloway cattle, certified by the high welfare Pasture For Life Farm Assurance Scheme, are 100% grass fed and no part of the animal is wasted.
While it’s traditional, at least in the UK, to brine/pickle ox tongue it’s not essential. I soaked mine overnight in salty water then poached it with root veg and a few aromatics. Simple and very tasty, served with the celeriac remoulade and caperberries. If you can’t source caperberries, try slicing gherkins into fans. Fancy!
Ox Tongue with Celeriac Remoulade and Caperberries
1 ox tongue
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
A handful of parsley stalks
1 tsp salt
For the remoulade (serves 4 as part of a starter):
3 tbsp good ready-made mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
3 caperberries per person
Sea salt crystals
Scrub the tongue and soak it in well-salted water overnight. Next day, drain and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum. Add the vegetables, herbs and salt, reduce to a simmer and cook for about two and a half to three hours, until the skin turns white and begins to blister and the thickest part of the tongue can be easily pierced with a knife.
Remove from the heat and when the tongue is cool enough to handle but still warm, peel off the skin. If the bony end is still on, remove it and discard.
At this point you can either cool it, refrigerate it and slice it as is, or you can press it in a mould. I used mini bread tins but any container which you can press a weight onto works. Put the tongue in your container, cover it with cling film, lay a board on it and weight it down with something (baked beans tins work a treat). Refrigerate overnight.
Next day, turn the tongue out and slice it neatly before sprinkling with sea salt and serving with the remoulade and caperberries. Any scraps are good cubed, fried and used to garnish soup (maybe made from the rest of the celeriac. There’s a recipe here but obviously use a meat stock rather than fish).
For the remoulade, fill a bowl with cold water and add the juice of half the lemon. Peel the celeriac, cut it into thin slices and cut those into matchsticks. Drop them into the acidulated water as you go, so they don’t brown.
In another bowl, mix the mayo, mustards and the juice of the other half of the lemon.
Drain the celeriac and dry it thoroughly in a clean tea towel. Mix with the dressing and refrigerate until needed – it will keep in the fridge overnight if you want to get ahead.