Vodka-Spiked Cherry Tomatoes
These tender, potent little orbs make a splendid Bloody Mary–esque addition to a beach-blanket picnic or a fancy cocktail party, and they tend to disappear in no time flat. Blanching them makes quick work of slipping off their skins.
3 pints firm small mixed cherry and grape tomatoes
1/2 cup vodka
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Cut a small X in bottom of each tomato. Blanch tomatoes, 5 at a time, in a saucepan of boiling water 3 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking.
Drain and peel, transferring to a large shallow dish.
Stir together vodka, vinegar, sugar, and zest until sugar has dissolved, then pour over tomatoes, gently tossing to coat. Marinate, chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Stir together 3 tablespoons salt and 1.5 tablespoons pepper and serve with tomatoes for dipping.
COOKS’ NOTE: Tomatoes can be peeled and vodka marinade prepared 1 day ahead and kept separately, chilled.