Well, we’ve put the other book end on summer, and I feel like I missed something. It was not a typical summer, after the nasty spring lead-up, and the cool nights that kept the garden from flourishing the way it normally does. Even our huge walnut tree has noticeably fewer walnuts on its branches. But there is the comfort of that reliable late-summer crop: tomatoes.Even with the large swings in weather conditions our tomatoes are growing and ripening quickly now. I had an idea that resurrected a kind of “fad” ingredient from years ago. And it’s a great way to use tomatoes and surprise people with something a little unexpected. Tomato water is the pure, almost clear liquid you get from straining crushed tomatoes. It’s intense tomato flavor is a revelation, given its pale color and light texture. It goes without saying that tomato water makes a great version of the classic Bloody Mary. I made a batch this past week and I think this version is better than the original; it’s light and fresh, and oh so appropriate for the waning days of warm weather and meals alfresco. So make some tomato water, mix it up with your favorite vodka, and garnish with restraint. Sip and enjoy, as the sun sinks lower with each passing day.
Tomato Water Bloody Mary
- 1½ pounds garden-fresh tomatoes
- A large handful fresh basil leaves, rinsed
- A handful of fresh, flat leaf parsley leaves, rinsed
- 4 scallions, white parts only, roughly chopped
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Your favorite vodka
- Assorted cherry tomatoes, for garnish
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Line a sieve or colander with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over a deep bowl. Put the tomatoes, herbs, scallions, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a coarse puree.
- Transfer the mixture to the sieve and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for about 12 hours. Do not press on the tomato mixture! When ready to serve, discard the tomato solids and pour the tomato water into a container. It will keep, refrigerated for about 3 days.
- To make your cocktail, fill an 8-ounce glass with ice cubes. Add 1½ ounces of vodka and about 4 ounces of tomato water. Stir, and garnish with a lemon slice and additional cherry tomatoes. Sip and enjoy!