Region: Italy, Sicily
Category: Variety Meats
Difficulty: Medium Difficulty
Còmiso in the Ragusa province of Sicily was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1693 and entirely rebuilt in the Baroque style as were many of the towns in that region. The Baroque style also influenced the cooking as we see in this old nineteenth-century baronial recipe from Còmiso. I’ve adapted it from the Sicilian cookbook authors Giuseppe Coria and Pino Correnti and it is the sweet-and-sour sauce that makes it part of cucina arabo-sicula. It has a sophisticated taste indicative of its societal status.[Photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 3 hours
One 3- to 3 ½-pound beef tongue (not smoked)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/4-inch slice salt pork
1 1/2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/4 cups dry red wine
1 cup beef broth (see page 000)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon very finely chopped orange zest
3 orange slices, halved (optional)
1. Place tongue in large casserole with the oil, onion, carrot, celery, salt pork, chopped garlic, and parsley. Add salt and pepper and brown well over medium heat for 20 minutes. Add the wine and continue cooking until it has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
2. Add the broth and lower the heat. Cook, uncovered, for 2 hours, or until the tongue is well done, turning it over every half hour.
3. Remove and set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Stain the sauce and reserve in a saucepan on the side. Skim with a spoon any scum that remains on top of the sauce. Once the tongue is cool enough to handle, make a cut in the skin and peel it off. Slice the tongue and keep it warm on the side.
4. Place sugar, garlic, and bay leaf in a small saucepan, and let the sugar melt over low to medium heat. Mix frequently (do not add water), and when sugar is light brown in color, about 10 minutes, add the vinegar. The sugar will immediately congeal in a somewhat alarming manner. Continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens and the sugar dissolves, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Add chocolate and cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Add this sauce to the strained pan sauce. If it is too thin, reduce it over medium heat. Add the pine nuts, orange zest, and a pinch of salt, and stir.
6. Reheat the tongue and sauce, if necessary, and arrange the slices of tongue on a platter. Cover with the sauce and decorate the edges of the platter with orange slices and chocolate shavings if desired.