White Flower Farm near Litchfield, CT, had their Tomato Event. It was a beautiful day, spent communing with nature and the truly beautiful, The Orchid Mother. They offered lunch and other goodies, so we dined al fresco on Fried Green Tomato Tacos. The tomato jam was one of the “other” goodies. It was, as they say, “a catered affair.” Ciesco Catering Company did the honors. Their Fried Green Tomato Taco was wonderful. Did I take a picture? Of course not. But, I can tell you that come summer, you’ll be seeing a posting on that. The other thing they had that intrigued us were Cornmeal Cookies Filled with Tomato Jam (again, no picture, but they tasted great!). Charlene, from Ciesco Catering, directed us to their website, where they have posted the recipe. The Goddess, being the can’t-leave-a-recipe-alone type of Goddess, made a couple of changes. Okay, they were pretty big changes. But their recipe is delicious and was an inspiration for this version.
Charlene uses fresh tomatoes, but since out-of-season supermarket tomatoes are usually unrecognizable as tomatoes, and I want to make this whenever I want to make it, I decided to use canned tomatoes. It works well, but I find that sometimes the tomatoes need to be mashed, because they don’t tend to cook down the way fresh tomatoes do. Or you can leave them in the larger pieces. It’s a trade-off and one that I’m happy to make. Also, you won’t have any skins in the final product, though that’s not a deal-breaker for me. But there’s no chopping and dicing, and when you decide at 10 p.m. to make a batch, that matters! I also added and altered some other ingredients. I think the next batch will include some finely diced pineapple…I’ll let you know.
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained (fire-roasted if possible)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1-2 tablespoons minced or grated gingerroot
- 1 tablespoon very finely minced chile, seeds removed (optional)
- 2 teaspoons whole brown mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
- 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne, to taste
- 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy pot except the tomato paste. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring now and then to prevent sticking. You’ll need to stir more frequently as the mixture cooks down to a jam-like consistency. It will take a good hour or more. Stir in the tomato paste, beginning with the lesser amount. Cool to room temperature; pour in a jar and refrigerate. The jam will keep for several weeks.
NOTE: I use the tomato paste to add depth and richness. Therefore, you’ll need to judge how “tomato-y” the batch you’re making is. If you like the flavor, then just simply leave out the tomato paste.
Tomato Jam Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2016. All Rights Reserved.
Just cook the mixture until it thickens, and thickens further. It cooks down to almost a paste-like consistency or a jam—this takes about an hour. I think this smeared on a burger, hot dog or sausage will be wonderful. To use as an appetizer, Charlene suggested smearing it on a croustade and topping it with a bit of goat cheese. I dropped a bit on a Fried Oysters. It was good, but Fried Oysters are just so very good on their own. The acid and sweetness cut the richness of the oysters, but sadly that’s part of the reason I love fried oyster—their delicate richness. I had some on a fried egg sandwich with a few slices of avocado for breakfast. And I smeared some on a roasted chicken-avocado wrap, along with some cilantro leaves. Both were outstanding. This will absolutely be smeared on the next grilled cheese and burgers. I know they will be wonderful, too. Can you tell that I’m lovin’ the savory jam? What do you think this would be good on?