Ruhlman’s Charcuterie writes about Corned Beef and with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I thought that I would adapt it to include something slightly more interesting and more size appropriate to my small family. I had gotten a taste of corned beef tongue at Mado in Chicago while brunching next to recent Oscar Winner, and former Benjamin from Short Circuit, Fisher Stevens.
I had grown up being forced to try pickled tongue at my grandmother’s house around Christmas. Cut into 1/2″ cubes, the texture was offputting to say the least. I mean that it was terribly tongue like. What I realized, after eating tongue at Mado, was that if you peel the tongue and slice it thin, the texture can actually be appealing.
A week before St. Paddy’s, I thawed a tongue and got together the cure. I adapted the recipe shown on Ruhlman.com for the weight of my tongue. Some water, salt, sugar, pink salt, garlic, and pickling spice.
After combining the brine ingredients and tongue and then covering with water. Let the tongue sit in the cure for 5 day and then rinse thoroughly. Then combine with carrots, celery, and onion and toss some pickling spice into the mix and simmer for 3-4 hours.
After cooling the tongue in the cooking liquid, I moved the entire process into a tupperware container and chilled it until St. Patricks day (2 days). After peeling (I can’t emphasize enough to peel and trim the tongue strong enough) and warming the tongue, I sliced it thinly and served it with mustard and sharp cheddar on rye bread. Cabbage, parsnips, and purple potatoes came along for the ride. The texture is remarkably tender and the taste reminds of top corned beef. A true pleasure.