Grilled ox tongue, bone marrow toast and salsa verde

Grilled ox tongue, bone marrow toast and salsa verde

Nuovo Mondo
Alan Benson

Jim: Ox tongue was something I experienced when I was an apprentice in Stefano’s restaurant and it remains one of my favourite things to cook. I learnt in other restaurants how to prepare it in many amazing ways: pickled and poached, in a terrine or grilled. This dish uses two of Stefano’s simple recipes: salsa verde and grilled tongue. I have added a simple bone marrow toast. Hot-smoked tongue can be found at most good butchers’ shops.


Quantity Ingredient
80g bone marrow centres
50g unsalted butter
200g hot-smoked ox tongue, cut into 5 mm slices
salt flakes

Ciabatta croutons

Quantity Ingredient
1 ciabatta loaf
olive oil, for drizzling
1 garlic clove, cut in half

Salsa verde

Quantity Ingredient
3 free-range eggs
1 flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp lilliput capers, rinsed, drained and finely chopped
5 cornichons, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
100ml olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. To make the ciabatta croutons, cut the bread on an angle into 1 cm slices. If the bread is too fresh, place it in the freezer until it is firm so you can get a good clean slice. Drizzle the bread with a little olive oil and then toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until crisp but not rock hard. Rub half the garlic clove sparingly around the edges of each bread slice.
  3. To make the salsa verde, place the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 6 minutes, or until hard-boiled. Remove the eggs from the pan, allow to cool slightly, then peel off and discard the shell and chop the egg. Transfer to a bowl and add all of the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Put the bone marrow and butter in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the marrow becomes soft – it does not have to be a fine purée, as long as the marrow is soft it will spread. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. Heat a grill pan over high heat until smoking. Place the tongue in the pan and cook for about 30 seconds on each side.
  6. To serve, spread the marrow butter over the ciabatta croutons. Season with salt flakes. Place the grilled tongue on warm serving plates, put the toast on the side and garnish with a nice dollop of salsa verde. Alternatively, if you want to present it as refined finger food, arrange the tongue on each piece of toast and top with the salsa verde.


  • I have two comments here: as a traditionalist I still prefer a brined ox tongue, that is, a tongue that has been cured with salt and has turned a lovely pink colour. All butchers are familiar with this and it is easy to procure anywhere. It follows that it must be poached in water with the addition of root vegetables and a couple of aromatic cloves and bay leaves. This takes about two or three hours, depending on size. It is exceptional straight out of the pot, sliced still hot, and served with salsa verde. Or, peel when cold, slice and grill, making sure the grill pan has been lightly oiled or the tongue will stick.

    I am also opposed to using the food processor for salsa verde, as most blades are never sharp enough. I prefer to chop with a sharp knife. I also like the addition of a couple of chopped fillets of anchovies to make the salsa verde more robust. You can also thicken the salsa with some bread: soften it first with a little stock from the tongue’s poaching liquid. Use good-quality, two-day-old bread, crusts removed.

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