Serving uniformly-sized slices of beef tongue means you don’t include the narrow end (the tip) and the wider end (the base). What can you do with them? Make beef tongue salad with herbed croutons! Tasty and filling.
Never heard of beef tongue salad? Neither had I. I thought I invented it. But as I was doing my keyword research in preparation for posting this recipe, I discovered that there is a Russian salad which, in its original form, had veal tongue among its ingredients. It’s called Olivier salad. It was invented by Lucien Olivier, a Moscow chef, in the 1860s. The original recipe included not only veal tongue but caviar and smoked duck as well. And there was a special dressing to go with Olivier salad.
Today, Olivier salad is often referred to as “Russian salad” and the ingredients have evolved. No more tongue, no more caviar, no more smoked duck. Instead, it’s chicken or ham. And the dressing is just mayonnaise spiked with some mustard.
Okay, so, I am not the first to think that an animal’s tongue is a good choice for the meat component of a salad. Sigh. It’s okay, though.
Anyway, so, when I cooked lengua al ajillo, I sliced the beef tongue, browned all slices in butter, but I only served the center portion of the beef tongue. Not really for aesthetic reasons, to be honest, but because the whole tongue was too much for one meal.
After cooking lengua al ajillo, the slices from the narrow and and the wider ends of the beef tongue were wrapped in foil and kept in the fridge. Later, I made this salad with my homemade Caesar salad dressing.
I scooped out much of the dressing from the bowl leaving a generous trace on the sides and bottom. Then, the ingredients went in one after the other.
First, the lettuce. I used iceberg. A small head which I tore by hand, rinsed thoroughly and passed through the salad spinner to expel the water.
That’s one of the secrets to making a good vegetable salad. Get rid the water from the leaves. Otherwise, no matter how fast you are in getting the salad to the table, it will still come out soggy. Not really because you used too much dressing but because the leaves were too wet to begin with.
The browned slices of beef tongue, straight from the fridge, were cut into sticks and added to the lettuce.
Next, tomato wedges. If you prefer to slice the tomatoes rather than cut them into wedges, that’s okay too. I like wedges because they add volume to the salad. Besides, they are just the right size to pop into the mouth.
I added onion slices for a little bite. Some cooks soak the sliced onions in cold water to “take off the edge” but, personally, I like that edge. It gives the salad more character.
I tossed everything together, decided there wasn’t enough dressing to my liking, so I added an extra tablespoon of Caesar salad dressing and tossed again.
Finally, the croutons were thrown in.
A few more tosses and the salad was ready to serve.
Here’s a printable form of the process that I described.
Beef Tongue Salad With Herbed Croutons
- 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing (you may need more)
- 1 head iceberg lettuce (Romaine will work too), torn, rinsed and dried in a salad spinner
- 200 grams beef tongue cooked, sliced and lightly browned in butter, then cut into "sticks"
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup onion slices
- 1 cup herbed croutons
- salt as needed
- pepper as needed
Generously smear the bottom and sides of a mixing bowl with half of the dressing.
Throw in the lettuce, beef tongue, tomato wedges and onion slices.
Toss everything together lightly but thoroughly until everything is moistened. Toss, NOT mix.
If the salad looks like it needs more dressing, add the rest of the Caesar salad dressing and toss again. Still too dry? Add another tablespoon of dressing and toss once more.
Add the croutons and give the salad a few more tosses.
Taste the salad. Add salt or pepper, or both, if needed.
Serve the beef tongue salad with herbed croutons immediately.