One of the classic sandwiches, here with a slight diversion to sliced ox tongue rather than the corned or salt beef that is traditional. Needless to say, the ox tongue works a treat and is instrumental to a very fine Reuben indeed.
Tongues, as a food source, tend to provoke a funny reaction in people, instantly put off by some element of it. I suppose this is the case with many offal cuts and perhaps has more to do with perception and a lack of education about how to cook it than anything else. Offal, in general, is cheap, nutritious, and delicious. It also actually tends not to be so difficult to cook.
While some offal, like kidneys and livers, come with a specific and forceful flavour, tongues do not — rather, they have a pleasing meatiness. Perfect for many occasions and very much so for this sandwich. May this recipe provide a gateway to a diet filled with tongues.
Corned beef ox tongue reuben sandwich
1 loaf of rye bread, sliced
1 small jar of sauerkraut
4-5 large gherkins, sliced
12-15 slices of Emmental cheese
1 tsp of caraway seeds
- For the Russian dressing
3 tbsp mayonnaise
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 heaped tbsp of freshly grated horseradish (horseradish sauce from a jar will also work)
½ a white onion, very finely diced
½ a tsp of Tabasco
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
- To cook the ox tongue:
- Remove the ox tongue from its packaging and rinse under cold water.
- Place the tongue in a suitably sized pan and cover with cold water. Set over a high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a cartouche. Simmer gently for 2-2 ½ hours.
- To test whether the tongue is cooked, take a small, sharp knife and insert into the tongue. It should enter with little resistance and feel tender throughout.
- Leave in the liquid to cool.
- Take the tongue from the liquid and, using a small knife, begin to peel off the outer membrane. This is quite thick and most definitely should not be eaten. If the tongue is correctly cooked it should peel off quite easily.
- Once all the membrane is removed, use a sharp knife to slice the tongue as thinly as possible.
- For the Russian dressing:
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
- To assemble and cook the Reuben:
- Take two slices of bread and spread butter on both sides.
- Spread a dollop of Russian dressing on the inside of both slices, then add several slices of the tongue, a good helping of sauerkraut, a sprinkle of caraway seeds and then 2-3 slices of Emmental. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread.
- Repeat until all the sandwiches are made.
- Place a large frying pan over a low-medium heat and lay the sandwiches in the pan, one or two at a time depending on the size of your pan. Allow to cook for 3 minutes, regulating the heat if necessary, so as not to burn the bread. Then flip and cook on the other side for a further 3 minutes.
- Repeat this step with the remaining sandwiches.
- Serve with sliced gherkins and a little dressed rocket on the side.