As I was standing in our backyard gazing at all of the tomatoes that were ready to be picked, I was wondering what on earth I should do with them. There are so many options, which makes it even harder. I wanted to prepare something interesting and different, so I went into my kitchen and looked around for inspiration.
I spotted several yellow onions that needed to get used, and slowly but surely, the vision of a savory tomato jam recipe started to take shape in my head. The fresh basil and goat cheese that I had on hand totally sealed the deal.
The first thing I did to get the jam started was to caramelize my two diced onions. To make really good caramelized onions, you need a sauté pan, a splash of olive oil and time. You want to be sure and cook the onions on a medium-low heat in order to soften them while pulling out and browning all of the natural sugars.
Here’s how to do it:
- Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat, and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onions to the pan, and stir. Cook the onions, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown and beautiful, a total of about 30 minutes. You’ll notice that after about 15 minutes of cooking, some browned bits (fond) will form on the bottom of your pan. To remove the browned bits (known as deglazing) add a splash of water to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape them free. This will prevent the fond from getting too dark and burning.
- Season the golden brown onions with salt and pepper to taste.
To help you watch the process of the onions caramelizing, I took a photo every 5 minutes as the onions cooked so you can see the changes happen with time.
Tip: Use caramelized onions as a topping for pizza or burgers, in a savory tart, in an omelet or quiche, in a grilled cheese, in a dip, or anywhere you like! Watch this video for another step-by-step tutorial.
The next step in making the jam is to add the tomatoes, sugar and acid. I used roughly 2 pounds of diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. You can alternatively use red wine vinegar or lemon juice.
- Add the diced tomatoes, sugar and acid to the caramelized onions, and cook until all of the water from the tomatoes cooks down and you’re left with a jammy consistency, about 20 minutes.
- Adjust the taste with more sugar and/or acid to your liking, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow for the jam to cool, and then stir in 2 tablespoons chiffonade basil.
You can use this jam in a number of ways… it’s so versatile! Spread it on a turkey or ham sandwich, serve it as a condiment on a cheese board, eat it with a spoon, spread it on a burger or grilled cheese, serve with biscuits, spread or dollop on pizza, or anything else you like! We have a very close friend that makes some of the best sourdough bread you have ever tasted, so I toasted a piece, spread it with the jam and topped it with a crumble of goat cheese. Divine!
Looking for more creative ways to use your fresh tomatoes? Join The Chopping Block's Owner/Chef Shelley Young, as she makes Fresh Tomato Pie in a virtual cooking class on August 13, 2020 at 6pm CST. You can donate to help support Gree