Lingua in Dolce Forte, Tongue in Sweet and Piquant Sauce

Lingua in Dolce Forte, Tongue in a Very Traditional Sweet & Piquant Sauce

Lingua in Dolce Forte, Tongue in a Very Traditional Sweet & Piquant Sauce

This is an extremely traditional recipe of the sort one finds in the pages of Artusi (because it is good) but rarely at table today, because tastes have changed and sweet-and-piquant, an artful combination of bitter chocolate, slightly sweetened vinegar, pine nuts, and raisins that dates to the middle ages (and whose origins some trace to the Arab dishes the knights were exposed to during the crusades), no longer finds favor.

But one still does encounter it occasionally, and Chef Carlo Cioni of the Ristorante Da Delfina, below Artimino towards Prato, prepared it beautifully for the guests at the 2013 Carmignano wine presentation, and also provided the recipe, which is, he said, from his grandmother.

  • 4 1/2 pounds (2 k) boiled beef tongue, peeled and cubed
  • A red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 30 g (1 ounce, or 2 tablespoons) pine nuts
  • 40g (1 1/3 ounces, or 3 tablespoons) raisins, plumped in warm water to cover
  • 30 g (1 ounce) bitter chocolate
  • 1/3 pound (150 g, or a little less than 2/3 cup) tomato sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Extravirgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Simmering broth (unsalted canned bouillon will work)

Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil over the bottom of a broad fairly deep skillet and sauté the onion, celery and garlic until the onion is a translucent pale purple (assuming you use a red onion; if you are using a yellow/white one aim for pale gold). Add the sugar and a goodly splash of vinegar, and cook until the vinegar evaporates.

Add the cubed tongue, the pine nuts, the chocolate, the raisins, the tomato sauce, and season to taste. Simmer over a gentle flame until the tongue is meltingly tender, at least an hour, adding broth as necessary to keep things from drying out.

In a nod to the present, Carlo’s son garnished the tongue with polenta and apples cooked in Vin Ruspo, the rosé made in Carmignano.


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Categories: Beef and Veal Stews, Tripe, Liver, and More, Tuscan Meat Recipes

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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