The brunch crowd can be broken down into two categories: the mimosa drinkers and the bloody mary enthusiasts. I have always been a tried and true member of the bloody mary faction—a lover of that spicy, morning after, meal-in-a-glass that makes waking up on Sunday so much easier. But as much as I love the mary, those served at most brunch places can be overly thick and chunky, watery to a fault, or spiced beyond drinkability. Since the perfect bloody mary isn't always easy to come by, and gorgeous tomatoes are at the height of their season, mixing up a batch at home seems to be the best of all possible options.
This recipe for Summer Vegetable and Tomato Bloody Marys from Amy Goldman's The Heirloom Tomato will surely beat the pants off of any other bloody mary recipes out there. All of the ingredients are fresh—no cans, bottles, or jars necessary.
The base is basically a homemade V8, combining fresh tomatoes, celery, carrots, garlic, lemon, jalapeño, and herbs. Add a bit of freshly ground black pepper and vodka, and you'll have a tomato-based vodka cocktail that is beautifully bright and fresh tasting. Instead of salty and over-the-top spicy, this bloody mary is almost sweet and the spiciness of the jalapeño has nothing to do with anything that you'd get out of a bottle of hot sauce. And keeping with the DIY feel of this bloody mary, I'd recommend garnishing it with a Szechuan String Beans or homemade pickle.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Heirloom Tomato to give away this week.
- 4 pounds red tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 cups cucumber, finely chopped
- 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery with leaves, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 sprigs thyme, chopped
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped
- 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Pepper vodka to taste
- 8 sticks cucumber or celery
Salt the tomatoes, then, in a mixer fitted with a paddle, and crush them. Let sit for two hours to allow for the greatest extraction of juice.
In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth and almost liquid. Add to macerating tomatoes.
Pass the tomato mixture through a food mill or sieve. Taste and adjust seasonings. Refrigerate.
Serve over ice in tall chilled highball glasses. Add vodka if desired. Garnish with a stick of cumber or celery.