OK, Tomatini is a way corny moniker we know, so when your guests squeal with enthusiasm over their drinks, and ask what would be the name of this most delightful libation, say "Tomato Martini". A perfect choice for those who like their Martinis dirty and find Bloody Marys too tame, the Tomatini (someone stop us with the cutsiness please) is a savoury cocktail best served with a hearty small bite before dinner. We've included our two favorite sidekicks to round out the menu for your next drinks gathering.
[Note: Before you Martini purists begin composing your indignant emails to Cafe Drake, for the record, we too believe the Martinis should only contain gin, and a martini by any other liquor is, well, not a martini. Such a novelty is this concoction however that normal rules have been set aside. If you won't betray gin and its noble legacy, you could always go back to calling them Tomatinis.]
The tomato water created for the drink has several other use we've discovered; notably, as a base for gazpacho or as a poaching liquid for fish.
1 1/2 oz. vodka (should be high quality for this one) / 3 oz. tomato water / 1 oz. pepperoncini juice (or substitute the juice from a jar of gherkins if you must)
To prepare tomato water: Place pureed tomatoes (fresh or canned) in a coffee filter over a small bowl. Let the juices seep through (and push along with the back of a spoon if needed) to extract liquid.
Mix together all three ingredients in a pitcher and chill for a few minutes. Strain into cocktail glasses and garnish with a grape tomato or pickled hot pepper.
Hummos with a few twists, this is the (adapted) recipe created by City Bakery in New York. We've been known to buy a pint when lazy, but it takes less than 10 minutes to create at home. Scoop up with rice crackers or spread thickly on mini-ricecakes.
1 lb. shelled edamame (soybeans) / 1/4 cup white wine vinegar / 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (found in the Asian food section of your supermarket) / 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- Boil soybeans for 5 minutes and then drain.
- Add beans and vinegars to blender and process until fairly smooth.
- With machine running, SLOWLY add oil in a drizzle to mixture.
LANCASHIRE CHEESE SPREAD
Very rich and comforting. As a little goes a long way, pack into a crock and surround with plenty of toast points. This spread is delicious on its own as a snack, but becomes sublime when washed down with an icy Tomato Martini.
1/2 lb. finely grated cheddar (as sharp as you can find, as good as you can afford) / 1 small onion, diced and then fried till brown / 6 slices bacon, fried till crisp and then diced / 4 T. softened butter / Cayenne pepper
- Mix cheese, onion and bacon together until a soft paste is formed. One tablespoon at a time, work butter into mixture.
- Season to taste with cayenne.
- Always serve near room temperature.