Give me some tongue

There is something absolutely perfect about the combination of beef and blue cheese, especially when it comes to a sandwich. Take for instance a black and blue burger…mmmmm….that delectable and heady combination of beef, cajun seasoning, and blue cheese. I’ve been thinking about the classic combination of beef and blue cheese and also about nose to tail eating, and that, my fellow hedonists, is how we end up here…a warm beef tongue sandwich with blue cheese and cornichons.

All accounts of beef tongue categorize it as a beefy, flavorful meat, well marbled, and tender if prepare with a slow braise. Obviously they had me at beefy and I’m certainly not one to miss the opportunity to braise, so it seemed like the thing to do. I ordered a tongue from Jordandal Farm and when I unwrapped it I was struck by its size…it was huge, and it looked so…tonguey!

First thing I did was give it a quick wash under the faucet and then I popped it into a pot along with an onion cut into quarters, salt, a few cloves, allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves, star anise seeds and water. I turned the flame onto medium and once the water began to boil I turned it down to a simmer and let it braise for about 2 1/2 hours. Then I removed it, allowed it to cool, wrapped it up, and tucked it into the refrigerator.

At this point the tongue is still covered with the thick outer membrane (the part that looks particularly tonguey). To remove it I lightly scored it and then pulled it off in strips. It was easy to do and actually quite satisfying. I’m not sure how this would work if it wasn’t chilled…it would be slippery and more difficult. Chilling the tongue also made it easier to slice it thin since my ultimate goal was a beefy, blue cheese sandwich. Once the beef was sliced I reheated it by placing it in a in a colander sitting over a shallow pan of lightly boiling water. As it heated up it began to look quite luscious.

The rest is just the fine art of sandwich making. Fresh poppyseed kaiser rolls were split and lightly spread with a tangy mixture of mayonnaise, dijon mustard, garlic, and the magic ingredient…pickle juice. The beef was piled on and seasoned with salt and pepper, followed by a generous pile of Hook’s blue cheese. I tucked in several cornichons, added a few leaves of fresh, flat-leaf parsley…and there you have it…a beefy, blue delight.

Beef tongue is full of that round, beefy flavor that is so well accented by the sharp, almost acidic nature of blue cheese. The sandwich was warm, beefy, rich, yet piquant…a classic sandwich to serve for a casual lunch, a football game party (Super Bowl?), or a quiet evening at home. A glass of red wine, a beef tongue sandwich…it all makes January much easier to endure.

Go to What Geeks Eat… for some more tongue action (I couldn’t help myself…really).