Buyer's guide

Most good butchers will sell, or order in for you, ox tongue and calf's tongue. Ox tongues can weigh up to 2kg/4 1/2lbs and will feed 10 or more people. If welfare is an issue for you when buying calf's tongue, then look for tongue that have come from high welfare British rosé veal, as opposed to European veal.


Tongue needs scrubbing and benefits from being soaked before it’s simmered slowly - from one-and-a-half hours for a lamb's tongue, to four or more hours for an ox tongue. After straining and cooling the tongue, peel off and discard the tough outer skin. The tongue can then be eaten either as it is, set and pressed with gelatine for the old-fashioned cold dish of pressed tongue, or sliced and pan-fried or braised. Tongues can also be pickled or salted and are popular served in slices in salted tongue sandwiches.