Spice up your next brunch with this zesty Bloody Mary, which is garnished with a sweet-and-sour cauliflower pickle. You can use the same pickling recipe with other vegetables, such as celery that has been sliced on the bias into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces, but don’t forget to start the pickles a day in advance.
For the cauliflower pickle:
- 1 small head cauliflower, about 1 lb. (500 g)
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) champagne vinegar
- 2 cups (1 lb./500 g) sugar
- 1 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
For the Bloody Mary:
- 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) tomato juice
- 5 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./80 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
- 2 Tbs. prepared horseradish
- 2 Tbs. hot sauce, plus more, to taste
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbs. pickle juice
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill
- 1 tsp. celery seeds
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 1/2 tsp. dill seeds
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) vodka or aquavit
To make the cauliflower pickles, at least 12 hours before you want to serve the Bloody Marys, core the cauliflower and cut it into florets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.
In a saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mustard seeds and turmeric, and simmer for 15 minutes. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture back to a boil. Add the cauliflower and boil until slightly softened, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside to marinate at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, then cover and refrigerate. The pickles will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
To assembly the Bloody Marys, in a large pitcher, combine the tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, horseradish, hot sauce, lemon juice and pickle juice.
In a spice grinder, combine the fresh dill, celery seeds, 1 tsp. salt, the peppercorns, dill seeds, mustard seeds and fennel seeds. Grind until well ground. Add the spice mixture to the pitcher and mix well. Taste and season with more salt and hot sauce, if desired.
When ready to serve, add the vodka to the pitcher and mix well. Serve over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with the pickled cauliflower and serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.
Jason French, Chef/Owner, Ned Ludd, Portland, OR.