Tripe with olives and roasted tomato
The inside of a cow’s stomach looks a lot like a swimming cap. Sometimes it is measured in “caps” in markets – as in, “Two caps of tripe, please.” This continues our odd use of language when referencing meat products. If I put on a dish of “raw kangaroo” it doesn’t sell nearly as well as if I use the term “carpaccio”. If you dice sheep meat and dress it in mustard vinaigrette, it is called “tartare”.
Using fancy titles to romanticise what we are actually eating is common, but the exception to the rule seems to come when referencing offal. Offal is almost always classified by its actual name. Liver. Kidney. Spleen. Tongue. Heart. Why then is stomach “rebranded” as tripe? Perhaps so we can more easily stomach it?
Common industry practice for the processing of stomach often involves bleaching to remove any discolouration and partial boiling to tenderise the cut to a point where it is more approachable. If you are very resourceful you may get your hands on tripe that has had minimal preparation. If this is the case I recommend a similar preparation to the method at right but with acidulated water (try adding distilled vinegar to the blanching water), and also add a further 30 minutes’ cooking time in the white wine.
There isn’t anywhere to hide in this recipe. I guess the slicing of the stomach into noodles can trick the mind into thinking it’s some sort of pasta, but that’s not the point really. This preparation becomes the dish trippa alla romana with the addition of borlotti beans, carrots and celery. But this stripped-back version is a celebration. Use really punchy brined olives that bring some bitterness, and end-of-season tomatoes that are just tipping over the edge into overripe. It’s all a load of tripe in the end, but hopefully it’s something we can stomach.
Tripe with olives and roasted tomato
– 600g piece of tripe, partially prepared (as industry standard)
– 200ml olive oil
– 3 shallots, finely minced
– 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
– 400ml white wine
– 1kg sauce tomatoes
– 100g dark olives
– salt and pepper
– 1 cup oregano leaves, fried (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and briefly blanch the tripe, then refresh it in cold water. Repeat this process three times before setting the tripe aside.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large, ovenproof pot over low heat, add the shallots and garlic, then put the lid on the pot and gently sweat the contents. Once the shallots are translucent, add the wine and bring the mixture to the boil before adding the tripe and reducing the temperature to medium. Simmer the tripe in the wine for one hour.
Place the whole tomatoes in a relatively shallow baking dish with the rest of the olive oil and roast at 190ºC for 35 minutes. The tomatoes should colour and begin to collapse. Pull the “heart” and vine from the tomatoes and discard, then gently squash the remaining tomato with a fork. Continue roasting for a further 10 minutes and then let settle.
Put the tomatoes and oil in the pot with the tripe, then add the olives. Put the pot back in the oven and roast uncovered for a further 25 minutes at 170ºC. Remove the tripe and slice into noodle thickness. Season the sauce to taste and reduce slightly. Roll the tripe noodles back through the sauce and, if you wish, serve with a generous amount of fried oregano.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Mar 21, 2020 as "Reverting to tripe".
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