When the head is dressed with the skin on, which many persons prefer, the ear must be cut off quite close to it; it will require three quarters of an hour or upwards of additional boiling, and should be served covered with fried crumbs: the more usual mode, however, is to boil it without the skin. In either case, first remove the brain, wash the head delicately clean, and soak it for a quarter of an hour; cover it plentifully with cold water, remove the scum as it rises with great care, throw in a little salt, and boil the head gently until it is perfectly tender. In the mean time, wash and soak the brains first in cold and then in warm water, remove the skin or film, boil them in a small saucepan from fourteen to sixteen minutes, according to their size, and when they are done, chop and mix them with eight or ten sage leaves boiled tender, and finely minced, or, if preferred, with parsley boiled instead; warm them in a spoonful or two of melted butter, or white sauce; skin the tongue, trim off the root, and serve it in a small dish with the brains laid round it. Send the head to table very hot, with parsley and butter poured over it, and some more in a tureen.
A cheek of bacon, or very delicate pickled pork, and greens, are the usual accompaniments to boiled calf's head.
We have given here the common English mode of serving this dish, by some epicures considered the best, and by others, as exceedingly insipid. On the Continent, tomata sauce takes the place of the parsley and butter; and rich oyster or Dutch sauce are varieties often substituted for it in this country.
With the skin on, from 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours; without the skin, from 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hour.
Boil the half-head until tolerably tender; let it cool, and bone it entirely; replace the brain, lay the head into a stewpan, and simmer it gently for an hour in rich gravy. From five and twenty to thirty minutes before it is dished, add, if procurable, half a pint of mushroom-buttons. Thicken the gravy, if needful, with rice-flour, or with flour and butter, and serve plenty of forcemeat-balls round the head. For dishes of this kind, a little sweet-basil wine, or a few sprigs of the herb itself, impart a very agreeable flavour. When neither these nor mushrooms are within reach, the very thin rind of a small but fresh lemon may be boiled in the gravy, and the strained juice added at the instant of serving.
Boiled from 1 to 2 hours; stewed 1 hour.
The skin, with the ear, nay be left on the head for this receipt, and the latter slit into narrow strips from the tip to within an inch and a half of the base; which will give it a feathery and ornamental appearance: the head may then be glazed or not at pleasure.