We always plant too many tomatoes. Every summer, we wait and watch the little green orbs start to blush, and then we savor the sweet juiciness of them all. That first taste of summer is pretty incredible. After that first rush though, I start to feel a little bit overwhelmed by tomatoes. It seems like we pick basket after basket of the grape and cherry varieties, little explosions of goodness. Since necessity is the mother of invention, the glut brings out my kitchen creative.
I love a good tomato sandwich or a few tomatoes dotted throughout my salad, but this salad was born out of a need for something different. A good bloody mary cocktail is something I look forward to on little vacation jaunts to America. It's the perfect brunch-time indulgence, a sign of time spent relaxing with friends over a meal. It has an everyday celebratory feeling to it, and I live for those moments. Its spicy complexity is universally appealing, so I knew the flavors would translate well in salad form.
The tomatoes first undergo a luxurious marinade in red wine vinegar and garlic to release all of the delicious juice. A quick reduction of all that juice and flavor with the addition of some punchy horseradish results in a delicious dressing that tastes undeniably true to the brunch-time-appropriate cocktail. Add a little quick-pickled onions and chopped, fresh parsley and just like that, you've got a nice bowlful of mega-healthy summer indulgence. Cheers to that!
Notes: 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
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 my favorite)
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
ground black pepper to taste
3-4 sprigs of parsley, leaves 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 tablespoons 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.