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5 cose da sapere

Salty tongue

Cured tongue is a particular preparation useful for preserving bovine tongue for as long as possible.

Today it represents one of the best-known dishes on Venetian tables, and thanks to the particular combinations in the kitchen, it is spreading in neighboring regions such as Lombardy, Emilia and Trentino.

What is that?

The term derives from the ingredients used for preparation. In fact, salmistrato is the word commonly used to define saltpeter , i.e. potassium nitrate, a preservative used in the preparation of cured meats .

In ancient times it was considered a waste item, but the clever hands of housewives managed to find a way to make this part of the beef edible and bring it to the table, thus becoming a culinary delicacy today.

A waste of value

Bovine offal includes the tongue which, treated according to an ancient process, is a huge success on the table.

Boiled meat is the typical dish that welcomes the pickled tongue with greatest interest, as it is rich in fat and helps to increase the flavor of the dish.

It is usually combined with light and delicate sauces that manage to underline its main characteristic rich note. The green sauce is the element that best accompanies the pickled tongue combined with boiled meat during the winter season.

The pairings

"Thin for me, thank you"

"A bit thick slice, thanks."

The countless requests that the butcher finds himself listening to differ from each other in terms of thickness, weight and measurements, but what remains unchanged is the goodness of this cold cut which manages to find its right size with different dishes.

Salads, pastas, artichokes, potatoes, celery, eggs and mayonnaise. The combination possibilities are almost infinite and come close to the perfect food in terms of imaginative and flavourful experiments.

Thanks to the recent expatriation from the Veneto territory, and the subsequent approach to the land, the undisputed queen of risotto, the pickled tongue has found its right place in hot dishes : cut into cubes or fettuccine it manages to release its flavor even in the most classic Milanese risotto .

In short, it doesn't matter when you choose to bring it to the table, what matters is to combine it with elements that help accentuate the flavor and crown it as the undisputed queen of the dish.

Replica in the kitchen

The first notions regarding the preparation of pickled tongue date back to 1891 when Pellegrino Artusi chose to describe the recipe for scarlet tongue.

"Take one from a large animal, that is, veal or beef, and with 20 or 30 grams of saltpeter, depending on the volume, rub it all over until it has pulled it together. After twenty-four hours, wash it with cold water several times and so damp, rub it with a lot of salt and leave it for the same eight days, making sure to turn it every morning on its brine, produced by the salt that dissolves in water. The best way to cook it is to boil it, put it on the fire with cold water, its natural brine, a garnished bunch and half an onion splinted with two cloves, boiling it for three or four hours. Peel it while it is still boiling, let it cool and send it to the table."

In modern times the preparation is very similar, with the difference that producers choose whether and which spices and aromatic herbs to integrate and use a well-defined quantity of vinegar and garlic.

Storage is in brine and must take place in a cool, dry place for at least 15 or 18 days.

The marinade

The marinating phase is an essential moment for transforming veal tongue into an exceptional dish.

In addition to the duration, which is around 15 to 18 days , it is essential to pay attention to the complete coverage of the food in brine.

Another important precaution is given by the environment and the container: if the place must be cool and dry, possibly dark, it is preferable to choose the container in ceramic or glass, so as to avoid unpleasant reactions that risk compromising the entire preparation.

The ingredients needed to prepare the marinade are:

  • the beef tongue
  • 10 g of saltpeter (you can find it in most well-stocked pharmacies)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 2 pinches of coriander
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation :

To prepare the pickled tongue you need to arm yourself with patience. Proceed carefully and clean the tongue , rub the surface with the garlic clove and saltpeter.

Fill a bowl or glass vase with room temperature water and immerse the tongue , salt , juniper , black pepper and coriander . Top up with more water if necessary.

Leave to rest in a dark, cool and dry place for at least 15/18 days, taking care to check and turn the tongue every 3 days .

Pay attention to complete coverage of the tongue immersed in the spicy water as contact with the air could compromise the success of the operation. If necessary, help yourself with a plate or an instrument that can keep the salted tongue immersed.

The recipe requires a lot of patience but if you want to speed up the time Bovì offers the pickled tongue already marinated and ready for cooking. Thanks to our recipe , preparing the pickled tongue will be child's play.