Brine Poached Duck Tongues en Pomegranate Scorpion Pepper Glacé with Buckwheat Soba Noodles ... Scorpion Tongues!
That Irritation TV Insurance Salesman Duck
Anybody that says duck tongues are normal everyday food, must have a big old farm with plenty of quiet ducks. Thats it! ... Starting a duck tongue cuisine trend could be the way to get that big dumb duck in those TV insurance commercials to shut the up for good!
I do not own a TV and I never go out of my way to watch anything on TV, but the "boob tube" is everywhere and it is nearly impossible to avoid. I go to a craft beer brewery and there is a boob tube, with two or three hops heads watching a skateboarding competition. I go a dentist office and there is a TV in the lobby tuned to an educational channel and nobody is watching. It seems like any place where people spend idle time, there is a TV nearby.
I go to a friends house and the boob tube is blaring at full volume. Everybody is stare crazy from shock value commercials that suck viewers right in. Then the unmistakable sound of that door to door insurance duck echoes from one end of the place to the other.
Then someone says, "I hate this commercial. I used to like that duck when these commercials first came out. These duck commercials are not as funny as they used to be." Thats when my own imagination goes right down the toilet, because establishing a love-hate relationship with TV commercials is totally insane!
"You see one duck and you seen them all." The same goes for geese. They all waddle around the same, they all get equally doofy and they all go "quack quack." So why would somebody willingly stare at a duck in a TV commercial? The only reason that I would even take a glance, is because the way my mind works, I would think of countless ways to cook that big fat plump duck up and write a recipe! ... "How could you think of such a thing. That duck is cute and funny and ... and ... Why are you sharpening your knife?"
It is easy to get sidetracked when duck tongues are the subject matter. When talking about duck tongues, it is nearly impossible to make it through the first sentence without hearing someone say, "You mean you eat those things?" Yes, I am a weird chef and I eat anything, so hide your pets where I cannot find them, just in case I get hungry!
All kidding aside, duck tongues are considered to be a delicacy by gourmands worldwide, especially in China. Restaurants in Chinatown, Las Vegas, serve authentic food that is unlike the Chinese American restaurant cuisine that most people are familiar with. A high percentage of tourists from Asia dine in Chinatown, so authentic traditional Chinese food items that are offered on the menu.
There are at least a half a dozen restaurant in chinatown that offer duck tongues on the menu. I published an article about the dining experience at the King Fu Chef restaurant a couple years ago. The Kung Fu Chef ha gone out of business since then, but this restaurant was quickly becoming famous for its odd cuisine, which featured gourmet Asian style offal offerings. On this visit, I ordered Brine Duck Tongues and I was quite impressed with how tasty these little tidbits were.
After trying duck tongues for the first time, I did a little bit of research on the topic. Apparently duck tongues were once lauded as being a gourmet food item by Europeans many years ago. Duck tongues pickled in sweet brine served with mustard and pickles was a snack that the wealthy elite enjoyed. In China, duck tongues are not limited to elite circles. Duck tongues are pretty much eaten by anyone who likes duck tongues.
Just like how Soul Food features many cuts of meat and offals that mainstream people rarely eat, the same can be said about duck tongues in China. Food is food and wasting food of any kind is not part of the Soul Food theme or Chinese cultural cuisine. This is in part out of necessity, rather than convenience.
In China, there are plenty of mouths to feed, so there are traditional ways to cook every edible part of a plant or animal. During tough economic times, poor people are accustomed to eating secondary cuts of meat, like liver, trotters, gizzards or even duck tongues. Many Soul Food recipes were borne during times of economic depravity.
When duck tongues are offered on a Chinese restaurant menu, this menu item is not only meant to appeal to gourmand customers. A duck tongue menu item is also meant to appeal to those who have memories of hardship during tough economic times, when a secondary meat cuts were the only affordable food. So, in a sense, duck tongues could be considered to be Chinese Soul Food.
"I did not know that scorpions had tongues! Do scorpions really have tongues?"
I do not really know if scorpions have tongues and this will certainly be another worthwhile topic to research. The word "Scorpion" in today's recipe title refers to Scorpion Peppers. Scorpion Peppers are the world's hottest chile peppers. These peppers are about ten times hotter than a habanero pepper and they are about four times hotter than a Ghost Pepper, so care must be taken when preparing a Scorpion Pepper recipe for guests.
Since the price of chicken wings is ridiculously high, seeking alternative meats is the best thing to do. Chicken legs and chicken breast meat that is cut into fingers are easy alternatives to find. Those few hardcore gourmands that are adventurous enough to seek an exotic alternative will certainly like the duck tongue option.
Just like what was mentioned earlier in this article, duck tongues were once a renowned gourmet item and they still are in many places around the globe. Duck tongues must be in high demand in Las Vegas, because they are marketed at Asian food markets and butcher shops all over this town. Duck sells for a fairly high price, so duck tongues do command similar pricing.
The flavor of duck tongue is tasty. It tastes rich like duck leg meat. A piece of cartilage runs through the center of each tongue, so it is best to caution guests that try this delicacy for the first time. Duck tongues are eaten by grasping the cartilage at the base of the tongue, then biting down on the meat, pulling duck tongue cartilage and the meat is scraped of with the teeth. Its a "one, two, three" eating process that is kind of fun!
The sauce for today's recipe is a glacé that is semi sweet and full of nice flavor. Chinese five spice powder adds a complex spice flavor that is hard to resist. Pickled ginger was added to the sauce and this flavor really tastes nice with duck tongues. Pomegranate Molasses gives this sauce a tangy flavor. The level of spicy Scorpion Pepper heat can be adjusted to suit personal taste. A medium hot spicy heat level is best for this recipe.
Since Scorpion Peppers are rarely sold fresh at food markets, a bottled Scorpion Pepper sauce is the best choice. Dave's Gourmet makes an unadulterated Scorpion Pepper Sauce that can be used as a cooking sauce. One or two teaspoons in a sauce will send the spicy heat level to the uppermost limit!
I have eaten several scorpions in my lifetime and they taste pretty good when they are cooked. Scorpion Lollypops are a popular candy here in Las Vegas. In fact I just happened to have a one handy, so I took a picture and posted it in this article. The scorpion is so tiny that it is nearly impossible to tell if this insect has a tongue with the naked eye.
As far as garnish food goes, serving a Scorpion Lollypop with Scorpion Duck Tongues is not a bad idea. The sweet candy will sooth the fiery pepper scorched senses. Those gourmands who relish the thought of exotic food, will savor the though of getting to the crunchy scorpion in the center of the lollypop!
Scorpion Lollypops are worth recommending! These lollypops are great conversation starters and they are a perfect "Trick or Treat" item. They are available in several flavors. The crunchy scorpion center tastes pretty good!
Marinated Duck Tongues:
This recipe yields 2 portions!
Place 12 ounces of duck tongues in a container.
Add 2 tablespoons of thin soy sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
Add Kosher Salt and white pepper.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Toss the ingredients together.
Marinate for 12 hours in a refrigerator. Toss the duck tongues in the marinade occasionally.
Drain the marinade off of the duck tongues.
Keep the duck tongues chilled till they are needed.
Scorpion Tongue Sauce:
This recipe yields 2 to 3 portions!
Heat a stainless steel sauce pot over mediom high heat.
Add 1/2 cup of water.
Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
Boil till the water evaporates and the molten sugar starts to bubble.
Cook the sugar till it becomes a light amber color.
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Immediately add 1 tablespoon of Pomegranate Molasses. (Available in Mediterranean Markets.)
Add 1 1/2 cups of water.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of cider vinegar.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder.
Add 1 pinch of ground clove.
Add 1 pinch of allspice.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
Add 2 tablespoon of finely chopped pickled ginger. (sushi ginger)
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of coarse ground Szechuan Pepper.
Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of Scorpion Pepper Sauce. (to taste)
Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
Add 1 tablespoon of organic ketchup.
Add 1 to 3 drops of red food color, to give the sauce a red tint.
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin glacé consistency that can glaze the back of a spoon.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice.
Keep the sauce warm over low heat.
Buckwheat Soba Noodles:
This recipe yields 1 small portion!
Shocking noodles is a traditional Asian method for creating a chewy texture.
Boil a pot of water over high heat.
Add 1/2 of a full portion of Buckwheat Soba Noodles.
Stir the noodles occasionally, till they become fully cooked.
Drain the hot water off of the noodles.
Place the noodles in a bowl of ice water.
Stir the noodles by hand, till they feel like they have a firm chewy texture.
Drain the ice water off of the noodles.
Set the noodles aside.
Brine Poached Duck Tongues:
Care must be taken to not overcook duck tongues because they will skrink in size and the meat will become tough.
Place 3 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium heat.
Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Black Salt. (available in Indian markets)
Bring the brine to a gentle boil.
Add the reserved marinated duck tongues.
Return the liquid to a gentle boil.
Turn off the heat.
Let the duck tongues sit in the hot water for 1 to 2 minutes, till they are fully cooked.
Drain the brine off of the duck tongues, just before serving.
This recipe yields 1 serving!
Reheat the 1/2 portion of prepared Buckwheat Soba Noodles in a pot of hot water.
Drain the water off of the noodles.
Mound the noodles on the center of a plate.
Place the hot brine poached duck tongues in a mixing bowl.
Add enough of the Scorpion Tongue Sauce to generously coat the duck tongues.
Toss the ingredients together.
Mound the Scorpion Tongues on top of the noodles.
Spoon a little bit of the sauce on the plate around the noodles.
Garnish the plate with cilantro leaves.
Serve with chopsticks and a Scorpion Lollypop on the side.
"Whats the matter? Scorpion Tongues bit your tongue?" Spicy hot gourmet Scorpion Tongues! mmm!