One of the unfortunate consequences of growing up in a wealthy country is that most Americans children don’t learn to value the offal and other under-appreciated — though wonderful — parts of an animal. Even as an adult, I find that most of my friends wince when I mention dishes such as braised sweetbreads and tripe tacos. I, on the other hand, was lucky enough to have grown up with a father who loved calf’s liver, a mother who ate chicken hearts, a grandmother who cooked veal kidneys, and a neighborhood Chinese restaurateur who routinely used chicken feet in his meal preparation.
So, when our favorite New York dairy farmers, Tim and Mary Tonjes of Tonjes Farm Dairy, mentioned last week that they had veal tongue for sale, I bought one and brought it home. Having not cooked one for about 15 years, I found an easy recipe on the internet, and threw it in a pot of celery, onions, carrots, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and gently boiling water for about an hour and a half. Then I turned the burner off and let the meat sit in the cooking juices for another hour. When I finally removed it from the liquid, I peeled the off the outer layer, discarded it, and sliced the tender meat. The aroma and flavor are delicate and meaty, and the texture is somewhere between corned beef, though not stringy, and stew meat, though far more tender.
I served the meat on a crunchy baguette with horseradish and lettuce. It was simple. And simply delicious.