Our guest, wine writer and fellow tomato fiend, Anthony Giglio created the original version of this recipe for his annual tomato feast, the Pomodorata. He uses special chiles he brings back from Sicily and he serves the jam as a cheese course with homemade ricotta and and an aged sheep cheese. Evidently people melt with pleasure over it.
I've had it on garlic and olive oil bruschetta, with grilled onions, it's good with pork, any roasted vegetable, and pretty decent on its own on crackers.
Cook to Cook: I can't bring myself to peel and seed a good tomato — much of the flavor is in the gel surrounding the seeds — and I use less sugar than Anthony does. My addition of allspice is because it warms up tomato flavors. If using fresh tomatoes, it's essential you taste before buying. Nothing but big, bold high-acid, high-sugar ones will do.
- 2 pounds delicious fresh tomatoes (taste before before buying), cored, but not peeled or seeded, and crushed with your hands or two 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes (Muir Glen is a brand we like), thoroughly drained
- 1 cup sugar
- grated zest of 1 medium lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon good-tasting hot chile, more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (fresh ground is especially good here)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
In a 12-inch slant-sided skillet, combine all the ingredients, and bring to a boil. Cook at a lively bubble, scraping down the sides of the pan and stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are thick and practically sizzling in their juices. Adjust heat so they don't burn.
The jam is done with the tomatoes' liquid is thick, syrupy and has glossy bubbles. Glossy bubbles are a sign that most of the fruit's water has cooked away and now the sugar is liquefying.
Scrape the jam into a stainless steel bowl and let it cool. Taste to see if you want a little lemon juice to contrast with the sweetness, and if the jam needs more chile. It will keep a week in the refrigerator, but freezing it for winter is a great idea.
[Disclosure: This recipe was created at a time when The Splendid Table had no business relationship with any canned tomato company. In July 2014, we were thrilled to welcome Muir Glen as an underwriter of our program.]