So, you've made that bacon vodka and are now basking in well-deserved, self-congratulatory smugness.
Well done, you.
Share some of your fabulous self, and some of that fabulous bacon vodka, with your friends by making these boozy, sassy little cherry tomato appetizers.
The eternally sublime combination of bacon and tomato, facilitated by the kick of some hard-core spirits, makes these a unique and intriguing choice for a coctail party, or adds a little zing to liven up drinks on the deck.
3 pints (about 60 small to medium) cherry tomatoes, mixed colors for best effect (oooh, pretty)
1/2 cup bacon vodka, or plain
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (or white wine)
1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar (or regular, this just dissolves easier)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest from organic lemon (or a regular lemon, well-scrubbed)
To serve: 3 tablespoons coarse salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper, mixed
First, peel the tomatoes.
I know, is there anything more tedious than peeling cherry tomatoes?
In the interest of full disclosure, you can make this without peeling the tomatoes, and it will still taste mighty fine. To take the short road, just cut each tomato in half or quarters, and proceed with the next step *.
But truly, this makes a world of difference, and if you have the time, and the internal fortitude, to face this task, you will not be disappointed.
Now, back to tomato peeling: Set up a small pot of water and get it boiling. Set up a bowl of water and ice cubes, big enough to hold all the tomatoes.
Cut a small 'X' in the bottom (blossom) end of each tomato. Using a slotted spoon, dunk a few tomatoes at a time in the boiling water for 3 to 10 seconds, until the skin starts to split and peel when the tomatoes are pulled out of the boiling water. Tr ansfer to the bowl of iced water to stop the tomatoes cooking any further.
When cool, the skins should slip off easily, or use the back side of a knife to gently scrape them off if they need a little more coersion.
*The next step: Place the tomatoes in a single layer in a shallow dish.
Mix together the vodka, vinegar, sugar, and lemon zest until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Pour over the tomatoes and toss gently to coat. Let marinate, covered and chilled, for from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
You can leave the tomatoes for longer than 1 hour with no significant harm (yes, I did test this), but the flavor does peak at 1 hour.
Strain off the marinade (this could be re-used for marinating chicken or a more flavorful fish like salmon) and serve the tomatoes with the mixed salt and pepper for dipping, and toothpicks for eating.