Monday, September 6, 2010

Fancy spread - Tomato Jam

With an abundance of tomatoes (This is the last one for the tomato recipe streak.) and a ReadyMade magazine in hand, I gave this unusual appetizer a try. Tomato jam: it sounds like a sweet and labor intensive dish, but it is neither. I adapted and halved the recipe from the pages of ReadyMade. Let's jam.

Jam is completely an incorrect term for this dish. There is no canning, pectin, or freezing involved. It's simply a thickened tomato spread seasoned with cinnamon, clove, and cardamom. Start by halving or quartering 2.5 pounds of tomatoes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the tomatoes with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper - just a light, even coating of each. Roast for about an hour or until the skins crackle and start to brown. (I think I should have let mine roast a bit longer. Sadface.)

When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and seeds. (I did not because I'm lazy.) Transfer tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until still slightly chunky. In a cheesecloth or a tea bag, place half of a cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, and 2 cardamom pods.
Pour the tomatoes into a heavy pan with the bagged spices. Add to the pot: 1/4 cup of red wine or apple juice (whichever you have on hand), 1.5 Tbsp of agave nectar or honey, and 1 Tbsp of aged balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmering.
Stir often and simmer for about an hour or until the sauce is thick and pasty. Remove and discard the spice bag. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. When jam is cool enough to work with, spoon into an air tight container, like a jelly or jam jar.

I highly suggest deseeding your tomatoes. It looks better and you can achieve a smoother texture - optimal for spreading on crusty bread with a sprinkling of cheese on top. Be brave. Turn those last tomatoes into jam. PS - the recipe is easily halved, so you don't have to make the whole yield of 3 cups if you don't want to.

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