Tomatoes have been on for a while and I couldn’t be happier. I know everyone goes gaga over the heirlooms (the colours, the shapes, the irresistibly old-timey names!), but they take the whole summer to come into maturity! It’s a long time to wait if I’m being frank. Thankfully, homegrown and humble cherry or grape varieties are plentiful early on, which is perfect for this bloody mary salad. I made this salad as part of a dinner with lovely friends over the weekend and it was the star of the show, no easy feat considering what else was on the table: David Chang’s fried chicken and octo vinaigrette, Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc buttermilk biscuits, a super moist chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream… But this little salad managed to shine right through.
In Canada, our answer to the Bloody Mary is the Caesar. The main difference: instead of straight tomato juice, we use Clamato, a potent mix of tomato juice and clam broth. Either way, the complex, spicy flavour is pretty universally appealing and obviously translates well in salad form. I skip the booze (and the clam juice), make a little flavour reduction, quick pickle some onions (any sort of pickled garnish on a caesar/bloody mary is the best thing) and voila, familiar and new all at the same time. Perfect, right?
bloody mary salad
adapted from Anna Olson’s In The Kitchen with Anna
notes: Reducing all the vinegar and juice from the tomatoes gives this salad the oomph that it needs. And make sure you save those little, pale green leaves from the heart of the celery! They’re so tasty and beautiful, all mixed up with the forest green parsley on top.
2 pints small tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt
3/4 cup red wine vinegar, divided
1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 tsp natural sugar/other sweetener you like
2 ribs of celery, small dice (about 1/2 cup) + leaves from the inner heart, finely sliced
1 tbsp celery salt
a few dashes of worcestershire (Annie’s brand is vegan)
1 tbsp horseradish
ground black pepper to taste
3-4 sprigs of parsley, finely sliced
Combine the tomatoes, minced garlic, salt and 1/4 cup of the red wine vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
Combine the remaining red wine vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Add the red onions, checking that they are submerged in the vinegar. Allow them to get soft.
Once tomatoes have sat long enough, drain liquid from the bowl into a small sauce pan. reduce liquid over medium heat until there’s about 2 tbsp left and set aside.
Remove onions from vinegar and rinse, saving some leftover pickling solution in case you want to make the salad a bit wetter.
In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onions celery, celery salt, horseradish, worcestershire, black pepper and tomato/red wine vinegar reduction. Empty mixture onto serving plate and garnish with finely sliced celery leaves and parsley.