Tomato and Caramelized Onion Jam

IMG_2186It’s amazing how six tomatoes plants can be so prolific. There’s only so many BLTs a person can eat and I had already made tomato paste and sauce. I still had plenty of romas to make two batches of this jam.

It’s a little sweet, slightly tart and with just enough heat to give it a kick. It’s great with some artisan cheeses, on a grilled cheese sandwich, or dolloped on a crab cake. Actually, I should have spread some on those BLT’s I was enjoying.

Makes 4 half-pints

4 pounds roma tomatoes (about 20 medium)
4 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced (yields about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
zest of one lemon, preferably organic
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon Piment d’Espelette
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
½ teaspoon Herbes de Provence

Half fill a stockpot with water and to a boil. Using a paring or serrated tomato knife cut a small X in the flower end of each tomato and carefully drop them into the boiling water. After the skin begins to peel back, using a slotted spoon remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and plunge them into an ice bath.

Once cool enough to handle, peel each of them*. Cut them into quarters, remove the seeds and tough interior core and coarsely chop. You should end up with about 2 pounds of fruit.

Melt butter and add olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed stainless steel or enameled cast iron saucepan over high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to caramelize. This should take between 15 – 20 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons water and scrape up the fond (browned bits) with wooden spoon. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fond has built up again, about 5 minutes longer. Add 2 more tablespoons water and scrape the pan to deglaze. Repeat cooking, adding water, and scraping until onions are completely softened and a deep, dark brown, about 30 – 45 minutes total.

To the caramelized onions add tomatoes, sugars, lemon zest and juice, vinegars, salt, Piment d’Espelette, pepper, and Herbes de Provence and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and barely simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have broken down and thickened to a jammy consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Once reduced, if a less chucky consistency is desired, run half the mixture through the largest disk of a food mill, give it a quick stir and remove the saucepan from the heat.

Transfer jam to an airtight container, allow to cool and store in refrigerator for up to two weeks, or ladle the hot mixture into 1/2 pint sterilized canning jars and process in a hot water bath according to the USDA canning directions for jam to seal for self storage.

*I dried the skins in a food dehydrator and pulverized them into powder using a spice (aka coffee) grinder.

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