Just the kind of thing I eternally hope to find in a remote pub with uncomfortable furniture, a glowing fire and a stone floor.
Poached smoked ox tongue, beetroot & horseradish cream
2 fresh bay leaves
1 onion, skin left on and halved
1 celery stick and leaves, halved
3 medium beetroot, cooked and sliced
1 horseradish root
300ml double cream
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
a dribble of white wine or apple cider vinegar
a pinch of salt
2 pickled walnuts, sliced
3 organic eggs, hard boiled
12 gherkins, sliced and fanned
- Into an appropriately sized pot, place the tongue and cover with a good 3 inches of cold water.
- Add in the peppercorns, bay leaves, celery stick and onion.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for approximately 2-3 hours very gently.
- While the tongue cooks either poach or roast your beetroots. Remember that regardless of the method, it is best to cook the beetroots with the skins, stalks and whiskers attached, peeling them after cooling, once cooked. Hard boil your eggs and allow to cool. Peel just before eating.
- When done a skewer should slide in and out of the tongue with hardly any resistance. The meat should on no account be falling apart. So test once or twice and in the meat part under the tongue so as not to damage the prime slicing area.
- When done, lift out the tongue and allow it to cool.
- While cooling, pour the cream into a mixing bowl adding 1 heaped teaspoon of the Dijon mustard, followed by no more than a small dribble of white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a very heavy grating of the horseradish. It should be hot, hot, hot!
- Beat the cream until it only just comes to a stiff peak and transfer to a bowl.
- Nick the thick skin of the tongue and while still warm (makes the job easier) peel this layer off and discard.
- There is a messy part on the underside of the obvious tongue shape.
- Trim this away but reserve it as it is good in soup and cold lentil vinaigrette salads.
- Slice up 2 pickled walnuts and then slice the eggs in half. Put one pickled walnut slice on top of each egg yolk.
- Slice each gherkin 4 times lengthways towards the stalk, nearly all the way through and then fan them out.
- Take a plate and arrange thin or thick slices of tongue, the gherkins, the peeled sliced beetroot (seasoned), halved egg with pickled walnut, and a dollop of the cream.
- Scatter a few capers about the place and enjoy it all with good bread and a cold beer.