Every year I go though the dilemma of whether to spend time putting tomatoes by, or to just eat them up. Well, here I am again having that same conversation with myself. I have a load of tomatoes I rescued just before our first freeze…now what to do with them?
I have been lucky enough to be teaching this fantastic class at the University of Minnesota: Cooking from a Food Systems Perspective. We are learning a lot about our place in the food system, and also about how to be a more ‘responsible’ consumer, which I believe includes cooking seasonal food. In the last two weeks, we have pickled, frozen, canned and prepared excellent long lasting items out of our very local (straight from Cornercopia, the student organic farm on the St Paul campus) ingredients.
While I’d love to ramble on about all the delicious things we did, and all the fun we had doing it, instead I will simply pass along this one, delicious and simple recipe for tomato jam. This is not jam in the traditional sense of fruit, sugar and pectin. Rather it is a basic cooked down, flavorful spread-more like fancy catsup. And boy is it yummy! I prepared this latest version with gorgeous small yellow and orange tomatoes leftover from class. As I said, it is easy, yummy and makes everyone, grown ups and kids, happy. See what you think. Oh, and make a lot, this stuff disappears fast!
Tomato Jam (from Cooking up the Good Life p. 3)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, deseeded and minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
8 fresh tomatoes, diced with liquid
¼ cup maple syrup or sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Optional for serving:
Heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno for about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, syrup and salt and simmer on very low heat until quite thick, about 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool, for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator if possible. When the jam is cool, spoon onto cut polenta. To dress this dish up, top each piece with a small dollop of chevré or other strong, soft cheese.