First up: Pomodoro. Where would the cuisine of southern Italy be without the humble tomato? In everything from that most classic of pasta dishes, spaghetti al pomodoro, to the simple but mouth-watering mozzarella, tomato and basil salad known as the insalata caprese, this symbol of Mediterranean warmth and goodness is something no Amalfi Coast kitchen is ever without – even in winter, when bottled conserves, sun-dried tomatoes and the long-lasting variety grown on the slopes of Vesuvius known as the pomodoro piennolo extend the season.
Due out in October, our ‘Sirenuse Little Book’ tells an often surprising story of tomato lore, literature and history, ranging from the arrival of the first tomatillos in Renaissance Italy, to another American import: Andy Warhol’s Campbell soup cans.
One thing we don’t cover in Pomodoro is the application of tomatoes to liquid refreshment in that classic morning-after or evening-before cocktail, the Bloody Mary. So we offer this Journal post as a bonus track.
Aldo’s Bloody is a twist on the Bloody Mary created by Le Sirenuse’s head barman Roberto Pane and mixologist Alessio Lupo with the help of Aldo Sersale (being chief cocktail taster is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it…). It celebrates the marriage between three ingredients that take pride of place on the tables of the Amalfi Coast: the tomato, the lemon, and the anchovy.
But not just any tomatoes, lemons and anchovies. A local yellow strain of tomatoes called GiaGiu gives the drink its intense yellow hue. A dash of colatura di alici – an ancient anchovy sauce made in Cetara, at the eastern end of the coast – lends an umami touch that in the traditional Bloody Mary is supplied by Worcester sauce. Sfusato Amalfitano lemons add a refreshing tang to a drink that is no longer a ‘meal in a glass’, but a light aperitif full of the flavours of southern Italy. Oh, and there's also what we Italians call a ‘punta’ – just a hint – of peperoncino, just to keep things lively.
While providing the recipe for your delectation, we are fully aware that finding the right ingredients is going to be a problem even in Rome, let alone London, Los Angeles or Tokyo. There’s only one real solution…. come to Positano, and let us make it for you at Aldo’s.
50ml (1.7fl.oz) chilli infused vodka
25ml (0.85 fl.oz) Sfusato Amalfitano lemon juice
90ml (3fl.oz) strained yellow tomato juice
A dash of ‘colatura di alici’ anchovy sauce
A sprinkle of celery salt to coat the rim
To make the chilli-infused vodka, put a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes in a glass or bowl, pour on the vodka, leave to infuse for a couple of hours, then strain.
Place this and all the other liquid ingredients in a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir until chilled.
Coat the rim of a tumbler with lemon juice and press it upside down into celery salt to coat the rim. Place a single large ice cube in the tumbler.
Pour the mixed cocktail into the tumbler through a strainer. Add a twist of lemon, and prepare to enter pomodoro paradise.
Photos © Roberto Salomone
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