Monday, October 24, 2011

Savory Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam? That's what my husband's reaction was, when I started making this on a Sunday afternoon.  I can understand why he couldn't bond with the idea of tomato jam on toast.   I didn't create this recipe for toast and jam.  I was inspired to make a Savory Tomato Jam out of pure lust.  You see, there's a local restaurant that served a dish that I fell in-love with.  It was a lemon-rosemary marinated grilled chicken breast, served over a risotto cake with tomato jam.  I loved it!  But, that special is no longer on the menu, and I was pining for more.

I spotted these beauties at Whole Foods, and it was already October. At $3.99 a pound, I grabbed a couple of baskets and decided that these were destined for my own version of tomato jam.  I did a lot of surfing the internet, but most of the recipes I saw had heat from hot pepper-- and I didn't have a jalapeno in my fridge, anyway.  My taste buds were leaning towards more of a  combination of sweet and sour.  I reviewed my recipe for Peach Chutney, and then I jumped in and started to throw things together:

I had two pints of these beautiful organic tomatoes.  After washing them, I added them to a non-stick pot, and seasoned them with coarse salt & pepper. I decided to use brown sugar-- about a 1/2 cup.
I added about 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. White vinegar would work, too. 

I decided to add one small diced onion to the mix and enough water to cover the tomatoes. I didn't measure, but I'd guess about 2 cups of water.  I brought the tomatoes to a boil, and then down to a low simmer.   The tomatoes were releasing their pectin. After a few minutes, I gave the jam a taste. To me, it tasted a bit too sweet-- and one dimensional-- for me (hence, I recommend using 1/4 cup of sugar to start with).
I decided to add some thyme, red pepper flakes,  and the juice of 1/2 fresh lemons.  Much better!

I let the jam simmer for about 20 more minutes.  This photo makes the pot look like I burned the jam. I almost did, but I got it in the nick of time.  Lesson learned: pay very close attention when reducing something with sugar in it!  I had already been in the middle of canning apple sauce, so I poured the tomato jam into a sterilized jar and the the top sealed with a reassuring "click".  I stored this in the fridge, and two weeks later, I made this recipe with it:

This is a pan-fried chicken breast, served over polenta with a fantastic sauce (I will share that next).  The tomato jam was the perfect topping, for this dish. In fact, my husband raved about how good the tomato jam tasted-- it was his favorite part of the dish.   There's still 1/2 jar of this tomato jam left, and I have another idea...I've shared this chicken recipe, and you can view it here.  I decided to, first, post how I made the tomato jam, so that my post wouldn't be too long.  It's a delicious condiment, with just the right balance of sweet and sour.  I thinking that adding more heat with a jalapeno could work, too.  If  you've never tried cooking down tomatoes, as a condiment, I encourage you to do so.   I plan on making more of this recipe, so that I can enjoy tomatoes year-round.

Here's the printable recipe:

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bellini said...

I haven't ventured into savoury jam's yet Debby but I did buty all of the ingredients to make blackberry ketchip...unfortiunately the blackberries and tomatoes are now in the freezer...still waiting:D

Christine said...

This is absolutely gorgeous! I'm lusting after that myself right now.

Big Dude said...

I'd be with your hubby until I saw what you did with it. Looks like a great idea and we'll have to give it a try.

Rosemary said...

I just made a green tomato chutney. . . I was suspicious, but I had all these tomatoes!!! I'm really not a chutney fan, but Martha steered me right and it's good on toast, too. Or crackers.

at the table with annie said...

I love tomato jam and have been making it for years. It's terrific with lots of different foods, and great in place of that awful sweet ketsup! You can vary it, too, but adding more acid to make it tart, or herbs to make it more savory. Your blog is great fun. Thanks for posting.

Rita said...

Another Feast for the Eyes; your blog really reflects it's name. I honestly think this would be great on toast after all.

Joanne said...

tomatoes have such a deep complex flavor that I know they must be perfect for a jam like this! I'd be digging into it with a spoon.

Christine's Pantry said...

Sounds good.

Pam said...

Well this is a new one and it sounds delicious. My hubby would love it for sure. Meant to say way back when I like your short hairdo.

Stacey Snacks said...

Guess what's for lunch tomorrow?
Roast chicken sandwiches w/ tomato jam. I saw tomato jam on Wed. Chef and I was inspired and there you are. I love it!

mjskit said...

This jam sounds fabulous! I love the sweet, savory and spicy combination! Now I just need to find these choice little tomatoes! Great recipe!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I have enjoyed catching up with all your posts that I missed while traveling in Europe. The tomatoe jam must have been delicious.