Veal tongue with thistle cream

Veal tongue with thistle cream, a second special for Christmas

The veal tongue with thistles cream is a refined second course, although it is prepared with a “Quinto quarter”, that is with offal. The truth is that the tongue is the most delicate muscle of all, especially if it belongs to the calf, rather than the beef. Both are very good, but the veal tongue has a more elegant flavour. However, it must be said that the tongue is greasy, moreover, unlike other cuts, the fat is present in-depth and cannot be removed.

Nonetheless, it is worth indulging in this food from time to time. Also because it is a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Proteins represent 19% of the structure, accompanied by good doses of vitamin B12 and iron. The cooking of the tongue is not complicated, but long enough, in fact, it is necessary to boil it for three hours in abundant water with the bay leaf. The reason for this lies in the consistency of the tongue, which is very dense and elastic. In particular, I recommend preparing this dish for Christmas lunch, as it has all the credentials to embellish this important moment.

The nutritional and organoleptic properties of thistles

One of the strengths of the veal tongue with thistle cream is its dressing, which sees thistles as protagonists. These are cooked together with the leek and the potatoes and then blended to form a delicious cream. A part of thistles, however, should be sautéed and added as a crunchy condiment on the cream itself. 

Veal tongue with thistle cream

Thistles are precious vegetables, although often overshadowed. The reference is not only to the taste, which remembers that of the artichoke but also to the nutritional properties. Thistles are rich in potassium, calcium and vitamin B12. The caloric intake is extremely low, equal to 17 kcal per 100 grams. Thistles perform pseudotherapeutic functions, in particular, they can be considered purifying, detoxifying and moderately digestive.

Which potatoes to use for this crispy veal tongue?

When it comes to potatoes, a doubt always arises, namely which variety to choose. On the other hand, you are spoiled for choice, given the many varieties currently available. Well, in the case of the veal tongue with thistle cream the matter is complicated, also because the potatoes must be cooked in a pan, so it is good that they show a certain consistency, and then be blended. As a rule, the yellow-fleshed potato, which is more consistent, is always recommended for pan-fried potatoes, while the white potato is recommended for processing into a puree.

An idea, in this case, is to opt for yellow-fleshed ones anyway, if only for their strong flavour, capable of worthily competing with that of thistle and aromatic herbs. The latter, incidentally, play a fundamental role, in fact, they must be blanched for a few seconds and then blended, thus turning into the sauce. This should be placed last, to crown and garnish a complicated second course, but capable of giving a lot of satisfaction. What herbs to use? I advise you to go classic and opt for parsley, basil, marjoram and fennel.

Here is the recipe for crispy veal tongue with orange-scented thistle cream:

Ingredients for 6 people:

400 gr. of beef tongue,

1 bay leaf,

1 bunch of aromatic herbs (parsley, basil, marjoram and fennel),

500 gr. of thistles,

100 gr. leeks,

200 gr. of potatoes,

1 orange,

Vegetable broth as needed,

40 gr. of clarified butter,

two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil,

salt to taste.


To prepare the veal tongue with thistle cream, start by boiling the tongue in lightly salted water together with the bay leaf. Cooking must last for about three hours. When the tongue is ready, drain it and set it aside. Then wash the thistles and blanch them for five minutes in lightly salted water. Finally, drain and set aside. Now make the diced leek, then brown it in a saucepan with a little oil and add the potatoes cut into chunks and the zest of half an orange. Pour the broth to cover the ingredients and cook for 20 minutes.

After this period of time, add half the thistles you have available, season with salt and cook. Once all the ingredients are ready, blend them well. Then cut the remaining cardoons into small pieces and brown them in a pan with half the butter. Peel the tongue, dice it and brown it in a separate pan with the other half of the butter (20 grams). Lightly boil the aromatic herbs (a few seconds are enough), then cool them in water and ice, drain and dry them. Now pour everything into the mixer together with the oil and blend well adjusting with a little salt. Now compose the dish: pour the cream, place the tongue, add the thistles and garnish with the herb sauce and grated orange zest.

You may be interested to read mille-feuille cake recipe/ Italian apple tart recipe/ Orange Poke Cake recipe.

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