It’s August and that means an overload of home grown tomatoes. I was scared I wasn’t going to get any this year, as early on my plants appeared to have gotten diseased but after cutting off the diseased parts, they’re going strong. What to do with all these tomatoes? I thought it was about time to try to make my own Bloody Mary Mix, and a complicated one at that – a Grilled Bloody Mary.
J found this video last year, and I immediately dismissed it as being too much work. 1. Because it is and 2. I can’t grill. I joke around about not being able to cook, but thanks to Pinterest I’ve been able to successfully follow recipes and make some tasty dinners. But grilling is a different story. I just don’t understand it. I have a charcoal grill, and I have finally mastered using the chimney to start the coals, but after that I don’t understand. I don’t understand how to keep the grill hot enough to cook things like meat, and I don’t understand how you keep it going. I see people add more charcoal to a started grill, but they don’t light and they don’t get hot when I tried in the past (when I was trying to grill pizza). So my grilling experience, besides the pizza which amazingly turn out OK, is usually just grilling some summer veggies for some recipe, or to freeze for winter.
But I thought, I’ve been feeling productively lately, I’ll give it a shot. So I harvested my Early Girl tomatoes, a few jalapenos, an onion and some garlic, and picked up some citrus and a poblano pepper from the store (since the squirrels dug up my poblano plant) and went to town.
I altered the recipe a bit from Chef Megan Mitchell’s website and video, but the original can be found here.
- 1 poblano pepper
- 2 pounds (7-8) tomatoes on the vine, cut in half
- 1 small onion, cut in fourths leaving the root intact
- 2 jalapenos, left whole
- 1 clove of garlic (I used 2 small)
- 1 lime, halved
- 3 lemons, halved (2 are for the juice, one is for garnish so you could skip the 3rd if you like)
- Vegetable oil, for oiling grill
- 1 ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- 1 tbsp. salt (the original recipe calls for 2, but I thought that seemed like a lot, and I’m glad I cut back)
- 1 tsp. pepper
- Hot sauce to taste
- Grilled lemon, wedges (from above)
- Pickled Green Beans
- 4 celery stalks, inner stalks with tops
- Whatever else you like
Fire up that grill, and get all your ingredients ready as it heats up. The tomatoes should be cut in half, and the onion cut in 4ths with the root intact to prevent the onion from falling apart on the grill. The recipe called for a red onion, but I didn’t grow any this year since they never keep well, so I used a regular small white onion from the garden. Halve the lemons and lime, but leave the peppers whole, with the stems. I added in garlic, because it seemed necessary. I used 2 small cloves of the Japanese garlic that I grew because it’s spicier than regular garlic, and I like spice. I also used chili infused olive oil to oil the grill, because, why not.
Once the grill is ready, start with your poblano pepper. You want the pepper to get charred and soft, about 10 minutes. Once you think it’s ready, you want to steam it by putting it in a bowl covered in plastic, or a paper bag, so that you can easily peel the skin off later. I left it on most of the time I was grilling, flipping it occasionally so that all sides charred. After a few minutes I added all the rest of the vegetables, starting with the cut sides down. I used a disposable grill pan since some of my veggies were small and would fall through the grill.
Grill until the downsides are charred and soft, 12-15 minutes, and flip and grill for 5 more. Here’s a tip: grilled tomatoes get very very soft, the skins start to fall off, and the guts fall out. They’re slippery and hard to grab with giant tongs like I have. I probably could have grilled everything a bit more, as you can see, they’re not super charred.
I shifted some of the tomatoes around, as the grill did not seem to be heating evenly. Do what you gotta do. Once everything is grilled to your satisfaction, pull everything off and let cool slightly before continuing. At this point, I ate dinner.
Once you can handle everything, pull out the poblano and scrape the skin off using the back of a knife. Cut the stem off, and remove the seeds. Cut the stems off the jalapenos, but leave all the guts. Cut the root ends from the onion quarters and add everything into the blender. Add the juice from the lime, and 2 of the lemons, saving the 3rd to use as garnish. Depending on the size of your blender you may need to do this step in batches. I only have a Walmart blender that cost less than $20 ten years ago, and I was able to get everything blended at once. Blend til almost smooth, then add your flavorings – Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery salt, salt and pepper – and blend some more. At this point give it a taste, and decide if it needs anything else. Initially I didn’t think my mix was very spicy, so I added about a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce and blended some more.
Now comes the pain in the ass part (assuming everything else went smoothly haha). Unless you like your mix super super pulpy, or you have some fancy blender/juicer that will do this for you, you’ll want to strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer, pushing the juice through with a spatula. Since I don’t like a super thick Bloody Mary, and you don’t peel or seed the tomatoes before hand, this was a must step for me. In the end, it didn’t take that long, but be sure to at least rinse, if not wash your strainer right away or it will never be the same!
Once everything is strained and tasting good, refrigerate the mix for at least an hour, but the longer the better because it’ll give all the flavors a chance to meld. I left mine over night, since I work nights and all, and can’t really be drinking before I go in. But I can have one for breakfast!
When I was still blending I thought the mix wasn’t very spicy, even with 2 jalapenos, and it had a strong horseradish smell but after letting it sit, it really changed quite a bit. The flavors were very subtle, just a tiny aftertaste of horseradish, and no shocking hit of spice, but after drinking a few sips you realize your tongue has a delightful tingle. There’s a hint of smoke from the grill, which had I charred my veggies more, I imagine would be stronger. It was nice though, and not overwhelming like the smoky Bloody Mary I tried in St Louis. It tastes nice and fresh, nothing overpowering.
The recipe is supposed to make enough for 4 servings, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. It’s a very thick mix though, I had to add some water to my glass, plus the ice (and vodka), to get it to my liking. I added some to my pitcher as well, so you could stretch the mix to serve more if needed. It’s a tasty mix, but it is definitely time consuming, so it’s unlikely I’ll do it again. It was fun though!