The first recipe is for a wonderful fresh tomato jam that has a hint of Moroccan spiciness due to the combination of cinnamon, honey, garlic, ginger and lemon. The result has a perfectly balanced tangy sweetness and is a brilliant accompaniment to burgers, shrimp, chicken, pork, lamb – or in a sandwich.
It’s easy to make and tastes fabulous. You can use regular tomato paste in this recipe but if you caramelize it first (see the 2nd recipe below) it will taste better.
In the process of de-seeding and grating the tomatoes for the jam (a Catalonian method of pulverizing fresh tomatoes), you’ll end up with a pulp that can be used for all sorts of things such as pasta sauces, soups etc. You can also shortcut that part and use canned tomatoes instead but frankly, fresh is best.
The Moroccan Spiced Tomato Jam can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
I’m also sharing a really useful and ridiculously easy trick that transforms tomato paste/purée into something more profound – I bet you didn’t know this cupboard staple could be caramelized…
Caramelized tomato paste adds a major flavor boost to barbecue sauces, chili, pasta, pizza sauces, stews, soups and so-on. Freeze it in ice cube trays so you’ll always have the right amount handy for adding some last minute zing to any dish that seems lacking.
Before you freeze it, strain off the surplus tomato-y oil; it’s really good in salad dressings, etc.
The second picture shows the before/after caramelization.
MOROCCAN SPICED FRESH TOMATO JAM
(Makes 1-2 cups)
2 lbs of ripe tomatoes (or a 28 oz / 800g can of peeled plum tomatoes, drained)
1 small sweet onion, finely grated
2 teaspoons of grated peeled fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
1 teaspoon of extra-v olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of wildflower honey
1 tablespoon of caramelized or regular tomato paste
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
Halve the tomatoes and gently remove the seeds by placing the cut side down on a cutting board and very gently but firmly pressing down with the flat of your hand. The seeds will squirt out in all directions and you can easily flip out any remaining seeds – don’t worry if one or two remain.
Using a coarse grater and cupping each tomato half in the palm of your hand, carefully grate the cut sides down to the skin; discard the skins.
Grate the onion in the same way.
In a heavy medium pan, combine the olive oil, garlic, onion, tomato pulp and ginger. Cook over a med heat stirring frequently, until the liquid has all but evaporated and you have a thick mixture. (10-15 mins)
Mix in the honey, tomato paste and cinnamon and stirring frequently, cook together until it thickens into a jam – approx 10 mins.
Add the lemon zest, juice and sea salt to taste. Allow it to cool before transferring to a clean jar and then refrigerate. Serve it at room temp.
CARAMELIZED TOMATO PASTE
1 can of tomato paste
½ cup of light olive oil
Cook together over a medium heat stirring frequently, until the paste becomes a deep red – approx 10 minutes.
Cool a bit before straining off most of the glorious crimson oil (to use in dressings, etc).
Store in the fridge for a week or two – or better yet, make double the amount and freeze as suggested.