This is the last post for this month which was dedicated to beautiful catastrophes of the Zorba kind that can happen even in the most professional of kitchens. Today’s catastrophic element is the way I went about making ‘salsa verde’ to accompany boiled tongue.
I don’t know about you but our family ate quite a lot of boiled tongue when I was growing up, and not just in Italy. Tongue sandwiches were ‘normal’ too in England. And yet nowadays nobody seems to cook it any more, myself included. Which is very silly because it is a satisfying meat to eat and costs very little. I paid just over EU 5 for the tongue. Friend V. from the pasta and ceci recipe the other day and I were discussing this and she says that in her family they served tongue with a tuna sauce. I shall try that next time.
Anyway … the tongue gets boiled until tender in a pot of water containing a couple of carrots, a big stick of celery, an onion and some pepper corns. Contrary to boiling meat for other recipes, this liquid cannot be used subsequently as a broth … just throw it out.
Notice that I left the leaves on the celery stick … ordinarily when making meat stock, the leaves are NOT used because it stops the liquid from being clear.
Add water and simmer with the lid on for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Allow the tongue to cool for a few minutes, before removing it from the stock pot.
And here is the tongue, ready to be peeled of its first coat. And this is when I wavered for a minute, as I took in the task that was being put before me, and turned to my friend Elena for succour. In a very nonchalant, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth way, I asked her whether she would mind doing the job while I got on with the photography? Elena complied, no problem, she loves tongue. And I was so relieved: some tasks continue to ‘queeze’ me out in the kitchen, and this one did !
The thick coat that covers the tongue peels off quite easily … and Elena couldn’t help letting slip a humourous ever-so-vaguely ribald remark as to its shape … nothing phases Elena!
nearly there …
There ! Ready to be sliced.
And now for the Salsa Verde … this is NOT the classic way to make it. Ordinarily I would have chopped everything finely with a sharp knife or a ‘mezzaluna’ and the consistency would have been much smoother. However, since it was getting late and I had a score of other things to get on with that required my immediate attention … what could I do? I cheated … I used an electric blender.
The ingredients are: parsley leaves, salted capers, anchovy fillets, stale bread (in this case I used what I call ‘plastic’ bread, i.e. sliced bread), ordinary wine vinegar (red is better), some garlic and some olive oil.
The salted capers need to be bathed and rinsed several times to get rid of the excess salt.
Here they are ready, after having been rinsed under running water for a final time.
In go the ingredients … all of them except for the oil and vinegar.
Give them a whizz …
Transfer the mix to a glass bowl and add two tablespoons of red wine vinegar (more if you like …)
Now is the time to add olive oil … quite a lot of olive oil.
Lots of olive oil. This is a salsa, no skimping. But yes, do give it a good stir before serving. And by the way: if you put this salsa verde in a glass container with a lid, it can keep for up to a week in the fridge.
Tongue with salsa verde, voilà ….