Now, one of the things about stealing away for lunch in California is that you need to drive to wherever you are stealing away to. This requires having a friend who is brave enough to both find and actually drive a car.
Luckily I had one of those with me. She was fabulous. She was fearless. She was driving WITHOUT a GPS. Unless you count me holding my Iphone up to the sky like Mufasa in The Lion King squinting at the Google Maps app as a GPS.
I also had another friend with me who managed to take our pictures, show the gorgeous California scenery and get our good sides, all in the same picture. This is pretty much the only way I like getting my picture taken…from far away and while walking out of the edge of the picture. Good friends know these things.
I promise this is all remotely connected to the salad I’m supposed to be talking about, because once we got to where we were going, and we were sitting there at our lovely California lunch table in the gorgeous, non-hazy-hot-and-humid California sunshine, the waitress appeared. I was all set to order my usual…and then one of these friends (don’t worry, not the designated driver!) ordered a Bloody Mary.
And something mysterious came over me and I ordered one too, for the first time in a million years. It arrived in all its spicy, tomatoey, frosty wonderfulness, and I felt even more wild and crazy than I was already feeling as a result of the whole Southern-California-steal-away-for-lunch-at-the-beach thing. And ever since then, the whole Bloody Mary idea has been lurking in the back of my head. So being the good food blogger that I am, I didn’t just fly home and make myself a simple Bloody Mary. Nope, that would have been the normal thing to do. Instead, I made a salad.
A salad made of sweet and fragrant heirloom tomatoes, sliced celery (don’t leave out those pretty celery leaves), all drizzled with a mixture of horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery seeds, salt and pepper, and yep, a healthy shot of vodka. I also tossed in some capers, although I think olives are the traditional garnish for a Bloody Mary. I’m not an olive person, but you feel free to mix it up if you are.
So the other night when the Southern husband decided to grill steaks, I casually spooned some of this salad onto our dinner plates, and got to watch that “hey, what IS this?” look come over his face. All those familiar ingredients in an unfamiliar form…it’s like spending time in California with your East Coast friends. Unexpected and wonderful and delicious.
- 4-6 ripe heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch of celery, cut into 2 inch sections. Include some of the leaves!
- ⅛ cup capers (you can substitute olives if you like)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons vodka (you can substitute white wine vinegar for the vodka if you like)
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds, plus extra for garnish
- Fresh ground pepper and coarse salt
- Gently combine tomatoes, celery and capers in a salad bowl.
- Combine all remaining ingredients except for salt and pepper in a jar with a tight lid (mason jars are great for this). Shake vigorously until well combined, and then add salt and pepper to taste. If it's not spicy enough for you, shake in some Tabasco!
- Pour dressing over salad and mix gently. Garnish with a scattering of celery seeds and serve.
Hot and Spicy Bloody Mary Granita from Food Republic
It’s A Bloody Mary from Joy The Baker