It is a bit like music, the sound of Spring. The melodic repetition of a single bird, singing, loudly. The slow and gradual whoosh of a warm gusting wind followed quickly by a baby sparrow calling out for food and possibly, a slight drizzling of rain. All the while, the leaves softly rustle in the background, like a constant rolling of the drums. A dog barks, three times. My dog scratches, tch..tch…tch…tchh…then shakes her head. There is a rake, a bike and the near-to-far sound of a passing car. A shovel moving gravel, thump, scrape, dump…thump, scrape, dump ricochets through the air from three houses away. The bird is still singing, yet softer now and more happily; perhaps it has found something to eat?
BLOODY MARY ENGLISH MUFFINS and A GOOD EGG (serves 4)
I like to make my own bloody Mary mix, starting with a good can of San Marzanos tomatoes. Having armed myself with a large container of my magic mix, I realized, it can be used for more than just a brunch-time drink; it can also double as a sauce. The best part for this recipe, you make your drink and sauce with it too.
This English muffin is a simple yet elegant way to make something quick, satisfying and (somewhat) healthy for the, typically, fat-laden brunch-time meal.
approximately 1/3 cup homemade bloody Mary mix (recipe follows)
2 English muffins, split in half
4 eggs (+ olive oil to cook)
1 (4) oz. fresh (preferably Buffalo) mozzarella ball
8 thin slices good quality salami
fresh pepper to taste
fresh basil for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
(optional) make yourself and your three friends a blood Mary by adding your freshly made mix to glasses of ice with a shot of vodka (shake or stir).
Toast the English Muffins and transfer them to a metal tin.
Spread a healthy dollop of homemade bloody Mary mix over each half, reserving the rest for cooking the eggs and refilling your glasses.
Dry the mozzarella ball with a paper towel and tear it into pieces, dividing the pieces onto each half of muffin.
Top each half of muffin with 2 slices good quality salami.
Set a non-stick pan on the stove and add a small drizzle of olive oil.
Put the metal tin with the prepared muffins into the over while cooking the eggs.
Heat the non-stick pan until hot. Break the eggs into the pan, carefully, so as not to disturb the yolk, and let cook, undisturbed until the white is slightly beginning to set (a few minutes).
Add in the reserved sauce and continue to cook, basting the top occasionally, but taking care not to break the yolk.
When the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove the muffins from the oven, divide amongst four plates and top each with an egg. Grind over the pepper or let each person add the amount of pepper they want.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
HOMEMADE BLOODY MARY MIX
The ultimate quantities of spice, citrus and salt are all very personal so feel free to add more or less for your own liking. I tend to like mine with medium spice, extra citrus and less salt. I do find the brand “Tabasco” to be the best (or most nostalgic) flavor for me but with so many hot sauces on the market, use whichever you find to be your favorite. A good quality horseradish sauce is somewhat key, in my opinion; I like Bubbies quite a bit.
1 28 OZ can whole cooked tomatoes (preferably San Marzanos)
4 TB worcestershire sauce
4 TB prepared horseradish sauce
1 1/2 tsp celery salt
as many shakes of Tabasco (or other hot sauce) as you desire
the juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Simply add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can strain it too but I like mine full strength (the ice will thin it when adding it to your drink).
This will keep several weeks, well sealed, in the refrigerator.
“What do you mean it isn’t for us?”