This fantastic recipe is thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients – it's very simple and you will have plenty of tongue left over for sandwiches and salads. Serves six.
For the brine
500g demerara or light muscovado sugar
1.5kg coarse sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp juniper berries
4 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
For the tongue
1 whole ox tongue
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 4 parsley stalks, 2 sprigs thyme)
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 clove garlic
For the green sauce
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 large bunch mint, marjoram or basil (or a combination thereof)
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp white-wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
300g Puy lentils or Trenchmore Wheat Berries
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 4 parsley stalks, 2 thyme sprigs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the brine ingredients in a large pan, add five litres of water and, over low heat, stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Bring to a boil, bubble for a few minutes, remove from the heat to cool, then refrigerate until cold.
Put the tongue in a non-metallic container or a large food bag (don’t worry if you cant get all the brine in so long as the tongue is covered) or use the fridge veg draw. Cover with the brine, weighting it down, if necessary, to keep it submerged, and leave in a cool place or fridge for four to five days.
Remove the tongue from the brine and soak in fresh, cold water for 24 hours, changing the water at least once more. Put the tongue in a pan with the bouquet garni, vegetables and garlic, cover with fresh water and bring to a gentle simmer. Poach very gently for two and a half to three hours, until tender and yielding. Lift out the tongue, cool and peel off the coarse outer skin.
To make the sauce, finely chop the herbs and put in a bowl with the capers, anchovies and garlic. Add the mustard, seasoning and vinegar, toss, then add enough oil to loosen the mix to a spoonable consistency.
Cook the lentils as per the packet instructions (though adding a bouquet garni to the cooking water), then dress with oil and season. When the tongue is completely cold, cut into 1 cm slices and serve with the lentils and green sauce.