I’m not sure I would consider myself a terribly adventurous cook. I like to try new things, but “new things” usually has to fall into a comfort zone of sorts (no entrails, for instance). So for the past couple of years, tomato jam was pretty much outside those parameters. Even though tomatoes are just flowing from the garden, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of a jam made from tomatoes. Did I really need that? It just wasn’t calling to me. At least not until now.
Last week I came across Mark Bittman’s recipe for the stuff, and he was just raving about it, saying it was like his new favorite thing, and that sort of caught my attention; not only because I’m up to my eyeballs in tomatoes once again,
but also because I’m rather partial to Mr. Bittman and his Minimalist approach to food and cooking. So he pretty much "talked" me into this... OK, then, I’m making tomato jam.
First of all, the combination of these ingredients (cinnamon, cloves, cumin, crushed red pepper, lime juice, and of course tomatoes) sounded simultaneously lovely and intriguing, but I wasn't so good with the sugar part. Sweet tomatoes? Not so sure about that. But I needn’t have feared. In a word, scrumptious. Really scrumptious. So very good and so very easy to make.
So all of the ingredients get dumped in your saucepan and you just let it cook down for about an hour and 15 minutes.
It will slowly and miraculously turn into jam.
Sweet, tangy, spicy and tomato-y! And a big bonus here is that as it cooks down, it perfumes your kitchen (and most of the house) with the most intoxicating aromas. I would almost make it again just for that.
But you must make it because tomato jam is really, really good.
I served it on crackers topped with goat cheese and that was awesome. But the whole time I kept thinking how good this would be on biscuits. Can you imagine? Yes, I’m making biscuits this weekend. And lots more tomato jam. Here’s the recipe…
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Makes about 1 pint