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Monday, November 28, 2011

The food that tastes you back

Tongue usually counts as one of those exotic organ meats people automatically develop some pyschological aversion to. Maybe it is the strange texture: after all, the tongue is unique among skeletal muscles. Most of the muscle eaten as meat are attached to bone and under voluntary control; all the muscle fibers are oriented in the same direction as the original muscle only needs to move in one axis. Thus, there are optimum ways of carving meat like a skirt steak, to cut through the fibers and make it easier to eat.

The tongue, however, moves omnidirectionally, thus, the muscle fibers there run in all sorts of directions. There really isn't an optimum cut, and the whole thing needs to be cooked until tender. On the other hand, there's no bone to contend with.

 Here in Houston, (beef) tongue is often encountered as lengua in tortas and tacos, but that tongue meat has been shredded into unrecognizable bits. Tongue can also be found sliced thinly in delis for sandwiches. 
In Mexico, I encountered right proper Mexican lengua stew. The tongue is stewed in tomatoes and spices, and then cut into generous half inch slices. It was delicious with freshly baked telera bread. Now that's the way to enjoy this unique cut of the cow. 

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