There is nothing subtle about red.
It reaches out, grabs your attention and makes you look.
Perhaps that’s why it is the colour of the ribbon which is the international symbol of support for people living with HIV, and why Angela from Spinach Tiger asked us to remember World Aids Day earlier this week by cooking red.
Angela has a lot of personal reasons for remembering. I almost feel the creeping red glow of shame that I am lucky enough not to have any such AIDS-related story to tell (there’s Irish Catholic guilt for ya). So I will just remember the stories of others and cook something that I hope is worthy of their remembrances.
Sliced Tomatoes in a Bloody Mary Sauce
This is based on a recipe for Sliced Tomatoes in a Tomato Sauce taken from my well-thumbed and splattered copy of Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian.
The original recipe is simplicity itself – tomatoes and tomato juice, flavoured simply with garlic, parsley and chili and very lightly cooked. Excellent with eggs or bread or rice (or all three, if you felt so inclined) and very brunch-worthy. The bloody mary dimension – that favoured cocktail of the hungover – is my own. I was already a fan of vodka in tomato sauce, so it progressed rather naturally from there. It takes all of about 5 minutes to cook (which is a real plus if you happen to be operating with a hangover – as you would if you’d had one too many of Greg’s equally red snapper shooters).
Last, but not least, it really goes without saying that, with little else to hide behind, the tomatoes and juice used should be of good quality and should have some inherent flavour of their own – in the case of the tomatoes we often get in Ireland, that is not necessarily a given.
- 175ml tomato juice
- 20ml vodka
- 0.25 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 10 drops Tabasco (or more if you like more heat)
- 0.5 tsp lemon juice
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes
- salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tblsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- small pinch celery seeds
- 1 tblsp very finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- In a jug, mix together the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and lemon juice.
- Take very thin slices off the top and bottom of each tomato and discard, then slice them crossways into 3 slices each – the slices should be around 1cm thick or so. Season the slices on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Place a medium-sized frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil, crushed garlic and celery seeds.
- When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomato slices in a single layer and fry lightly for about a minute on each side.
- Now pour over the tomato juice mix and the chopped parsley. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for about a minute. Remove from the heat and serve with a poached or fried egg and some crusty bread to mop things up.
- Leave out the vodka if you like. In fact, you can also leave out the Worcestershire sauce / Tabasco / lemon juice / celery seeds and just stick with garlic and parsley as flavourings and you would have something fairly close to the original.
- Serves 2, possession of hangovers optional