As I was spying from behind my ebook, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of people ordered tomato juice/Bloody Mary (including myself).
The old lady seated in front of me, a mom and her teenage daughter, even the hipster dude with handlebar moustache sitting next to me.
I never drink tomato juice/Bloody Mary at home, restaurants or bars. But when the flight assistant asks “What would you like to drink?”, rest assured there’s tomato juice to be had.
Now if tomato juice was a popular drink on the ground I would say: No big deal. But I’ve never seen 33% of all people filling their shopping carts with bottles of V8, ordering tomato juice as their beverage of choice in restaurants, or asking the bartender for a Bloody Mary in a bar.
As a matter of fact tomato juice is much more popular in the air than it is on the ground.
Why is that? Why I (and many like me) only drink tomato juice on planes?
I decided to get to the bottom of that.
One attributes it to the high nutritional value and filling effect of tomato juice (which is the reason why I order it.)
Another one ascribes it to pressure. According to it, during takeoff about a third of our taste buds go numb and in addition to that, the unnatural humidity in the cabin neutralizes our scent. As a result food taste blander than usual.
Lightly flavored drinks feel almost unpalatable. But tomato juice - which is anything but subtle - shines in all its saltiness.
Another study claims that it’s the very loud engine noise that suppresses our ability to taste food. That’s why we seek for bolder flavors. Tomato rich umami taste lags much longer than other tastes - such as sweet and salt - and it’s relatively unaffected by the loud background noise that one is exposed to while in flight.
Anyways, to celebrate tomato juice/Bloody Mary popularity on airplanes I’ve decided to create these badass Bloody Mary Meatballs.
Meatballs seasoned as a Bloody Mary, served in a tasty tomato sauce, minus the vodka.
Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free, very tasty.
You don’t need to be on an airplane to be able to enjoy these bad boys.
They’re good on the ground, just as much as in the air. Trust.
Makes 20 meatballs, serves 4
1 lb / 453 gr ground sirloin (preferably grass-fed organic)
½ cup almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs such as Gillian’s)
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (adjust to taste)
1 teaspoon celery salt
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (5 oz / 425 gr) can tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and place a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, using a fork, gently stir the meatball ingredients (try not to overwork the meatballs.)
If the mixture is too wet, add more almond meal (or breadcrumbs) one tablespoon at a time.
Scoop one scant tablespoon of mixture and with dampened hands form into 20 balls.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over high heat and sear the meatballs on all sides to brown, about 1 minute on each side. Be careful when flipping as meatballs are pretty fragile.
Place meatballs on the lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Heat the tomato sauce in the skillet, add meatballs, and simmer in tomato sauce for 4 to 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
One serving yields 288 calories, 13 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbs, and 26 grams of protein.