Every year, in addition to marinara, I make oven-roasted tomato paste to preserve my harvest. This year I also decided to try my friend Denise’s Balsamic Tomato Jam. I serve this spicy, sweet and savory spread on a slice of chewy bread with a shmear of chevre cheese or cream cheese.
Six pounds of tomatoes yielded 7 half-pint jars of jam, two of which have already flown out the door. Here’s Denise’s recipe for 1 ½ pounds of tomatoes.
Balsamic Tomato Jam
6 allspice berries
6 whole cloves
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. mustard seeds
1-1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes
1 c. sugar
½ c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
Combine the allspice, cloves, red pepper flakes & mustard seeds in a piece of cheese cloth and tie securely with kitchen string to form a spice bag.
Place the tomatoes and all remaining ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Add the spice bag, with the string hanging out of the pan. Slowly bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or until reduced to 1-1/4 cup). Stir frequently. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate (or pack boiling jam in sterilized jars to preserve).
NOTE: If you multiply this recipe you will need longer cooking time to reduce the jam and should remove the spice bag after 30 minutes.
Roasted Tomato Paste
I add small amounts of this concentrated, slightly caramelized tomato paste to soups and sauces, or chop it finely as a spread for bruschetta.