Of course there’s more… This time it’s Tomato Jam with fennel and fresh basil. I found a similar recipe in Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc at Home” (which is an awesome cookbook) and decided that I didn’t want to jump through Mr. Keller’s hoops. He’s a little hoopy sometimes. So I adapted the recipe to what seemed like a faster, easier, more delicious version. Problem is I was figuring it out as I went so I don’t have an official recipe, but you don’t really need one.

Jam needs two things really: fruit and sugar. The pectin in the fruit, when cooked down with enough sugar, allows the mixture to thicken into something less watery and more jamish. So that’s what I did: cooked about 10 pounds of tomatoes for about two hours with a cup or so of brown sugar, about half a cup of red wine vinegar, and some chopped fennel. For seasonings I salted the tomatoes and stirred in a little lemon juice and pepper towards the end. Keller’s genius stroke is to layer the jam with freshly torn basil leaves when he packs it into jars or another container, so I stole that too.

Try this, it’s seriously delicious. The tomatoes are sweet but not overpoweringly so and the basil and fennel provide the perfect amount of herbiness. It’s a perfect end of summer condiment too, the final bounty of the tomato season preserved for a new crop of fall vegetables and a new cooking mindset…

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