Courtesy Russ Flint, Rain Shadow Meats
serves 2 | start to finish: 5 hours
For the tongue:
1 beef tongue
1 yellow onion cut in half
1 whole bulb of garlic cut in half
5 black peppercorns
2 dried arbol chilies or 1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
For the quick pickle:
2 medium shallots
1 large fennel bulb
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresh black pepper to taste, coarsely ground
1 cup Champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt to taste
For the salad:
Washed and picked arugula, enough for 2 salads
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients for the beef tongue in a large enough pot so that the tongue can be completely submerged in water. No need to peel the garlic and onion as you will discard them after cooking. Place a plate over tongue to keep submerged as tongues like to float. Bring the pot to boil over medium high heat and leave at a low boil for 3 hours. Be sure to watch the water level and add more when necessary. The vinegar will help tenderize the tongue as well as flavor it.
Once the tongue has been boiling for 3 hours, remove it from the pot and place in a bowl in the sink. This part is really easy and very important: If you do not remove the outer skin/membrane on the tongue while hot you will never get it off. Run cold water over the hot tongue. Starting at the back of the tongue, get your fingers underneath the skin and start working your way to the tip of the tongue. Sometimes you get lucky and it all comes off at once like you are pulling a sock off. The cold running water will allow you to handle the hot tongue while peeling the skin. Once you’ve removed the membrane, cooling the tongue in the refrigerator for a couple hours will make it easier to slice and handle on the grill.
While the tongue is resting in the fridge, and about 45 minutes before you want to eat, peel and slice the shallot and Fennel bulb very thinly. Add sugar and coarse ground pepper to the Champagne vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Toss in the thyme leaves, shallots and sliced fennel. Leave at room temperature to pickle while the tongue finishes cooking.
Bring a small pot of water to boil and add room temperature eggs. Leave water on full boil for 6 minutes exactly. Remove eggs from pan and place immediately into a bowl with ice and water. Leave eggs in ice bath until completely cool.
Preheat the grill to 425 degrees. Slice the tongue in 1/4″ slices, starting from the back and working toward the tip. The back of the tongue is surprisingly rich and fatty–save those slices for yourself or someone special. Brush on a thin layer of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place sliced tongue on a hot grill. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until it starts to get nice grill marks. The tongue is fully cooked already so all you are doing is getting a nice char and reheating.
Remove the tongue slices and squeeze a little lemon over them. Let rest while you assemble the plate.
In a bowl, dress arugula with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the arugula on plates with slices of beef tongue on top. With your hands grab a small handful of the quick pickled shallots and fennel allowing some of the pickle to drain back in to bowl and place in side of the plate. Carefully peel and slice the egg in half. The yolk should still be runny while the whites are fully cooked. Place on top of the pickles. Top the whole dish off with a drizzle of olive oil and fleur de sel if you like.