Thai Tomato Cocktail
- 4 pounds yellow or orange tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 strips lime zest, 2 to 3 inches each
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (discard the tough outer layers before chopping)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated ginger
- 1/2 hot Thai chile
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped Thai basil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Vodka, to taste
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the tomatoes, salt and sugar. Mix until the tomatoes are crushed. Transfer the mix to a nonreactive bowl and let sit for 2 hours for maximum juice extraction.
- In the meantime, blanch the lime zest in boiling water until tender, approximately 5 minutes. In a blender, mix the zest and lemongrass with the lime juice, fish sauce, ginger, chile, basil and garlic and purée until smooth. Season with black pepper, then add to the tomatoes.
- Pass the tomato mixture through a sieve. Taste, and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Pour into a pitcher, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve over ice in tall chilled highball glasses. Add vodka, if desired. Garnish each glass with a stalk of lemongrass
“I like my Thai tomato cocktails to resemble saffron, or else the peel of the ripe mandarin orange,” writes heirloom-vegetable advocate Amy Goldman in The Heirloom Tomato. Caro Rich, Aunt Gertie’s Gold, or the tie-dyed Gold Medal heirloom varieties would work nicely here, but other yellow or orange tomatoes will do.