from the The First Mess Cookbook

Summer simple is the name of the game with this bloody Mary bruschetta. The season is winding down. Cool air is blowing through the open windows at night. All I want to do is hang out on my porch, drink wine/coffee/tea, and eat the delicious local bounty with my people. During this extra abundant time of year, It really is all about the simple things for me.

You could serve this bruschetta with a nice dip and crudité setup and a big salad or grilled vegetables, and just call it an evening right there. It’s rustic, easy, satisfying, super flavourful, familiar, and just different enough with the bloody Mary twist.

We concentrate the tomato juices with horseradish, tamari, and garlic here. It’s umami city! Grilled ciabatta is rubbed with fresh garlic, topped with the beautiful summer tomatoes, those reduced juices, and it’s finished with a “salad” of thinly sliced celery, parsley, and red onion. Vegan “parmesan” sprinkle and other typical bloody Mary garnishes are in the mix too! There is so much going on here, but it’s all very simple to prepare. The familiar flavour profile will have your party animal aunt screaming “WHERE’S THE VODKA?!”


SERVES: 6-12
NOTES: If your cherry or grape tomatoes are large, cut them into quarters so that they’re easier to eat once they’re perched on top of the bread :).

3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon tamari soy sauce
sea salt, to taste
2 cloves of garlic, divided
1 stick of celery, very thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
small handful flat leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon virgin olive oil
1 ciabatta baguette, sliced open lengthwise

sliced green olives
pepperoncini peppers
thin slices of jalapeno
sliced dill pickles
extra parsley or fresh basil

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, horseradish, tamari, and salt. Take one of the garlic cloves and finely grate it with a Mircroplane into the bowl. You could also mince it very finely with a knife and just add it to the tomatoes after. Toss the tomatoes to combine. Let the tomatoes sit for 30 minutes.

While the tomatoes are marinating, in a medium bowl, combine celery, red onion, parsley, and olive oil. Toss to coat evenly and set aside.

Once the tomatoes have marinated for 30 minutes, strain all of the accumulated juice into a small skillet or saucepan. There should be about ¼ – ⅓ cup of liquid. Place the skillet/saucepan over medium heat on the stove and bring to a simmer. Reduce the tomato juice mixture down to roughly 2 tablespoons and remove from the heat. Set aside.

Grill, broil, or toast the ciabatta until golden and crispy. Cut the toasted ciabatta into 12 even pieces. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half crosswise. Rub the cut surfaces of the ciabatta pieces with the garlic clove and then place on a platter.

Lightly brush each piece of ciabatta with the reduced tomato mixture. Then, spoon the tomatoes onto each piece of ciabatta. Top each bruschetta with a little tangle of the celery/onion/parsley salad. From here you can top the bloody Mary bruschetta with whatever garnishes you like. I went with pepperoncini peppers, olives, and vegan “parmesan.” Enjoy immediately!


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