“for starter i had the (tomato and mozzarella) salad, which sounds dull but was actually amazing. really fresh lovely mozzarella, rolled in grated parmesan, with mint, basil, cherry tomatoes and a tomato jam.”
i read these words and knew that i needed to recreate this dish. which meant i needed to make tomato jam. my tomato growing efforts have been a struggle this year and sadly my late-ripening tomatoes are not particularly flavoursome. thankfully i’d ordered some from foodari (grown at the leonard ironside nursery which i visited last year) which were much tastier.
having flicked through my recipe books and looked online i found a series of blog posts about mark bittman’s tomato jam. making this jam seems to have been a mini craze back in 2008, shortly after he published his recipe in the new york times. he describes it as sensational and several food bloggers agreed so i decided to give it a try, even though he says it only has a fridge life of one week (i don’t really believe this and am hoping it’ll last a bit longer in sterilised and sealed jars).
i deviated from the recipe, cutting back a little on the sugar, adding lime zest as well as the juice, and using green chillies, grown by one of david’s colleagues, instead of a jalapeno. the result is sweet and definitely a jam rather than a chutney. however, the depth of flavour that comes from the spices, ginger, lime and chilli means this is a really satisfying accompaniment to savoury foods.
i now just need to track down the rest of my salad ingredients…
tomato jam* (makes c500ml)
750g ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
zest and juice of a lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 of a teaspoon ground cinnamon (i used cassia which has a more savoury, earthy flavour)
1/8 of a teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 small green chillies, finely sliced (you can use any type of chilli, fresh or dried, just adapt the quantity to your taste)
place all the ingredients in a large heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring regularly.
reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam (this took me c90 minutes). taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. place in sterilised jars, cool and then refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
* adapted from a mark bittman recipe