Friday, June 29, 2012

Creole Tomato Jam

Goat Cheese and Tomato Jam Crostini was once the height of trendiness in New Orleans' restaurants. Having made a platter as an appetizer recently, I can understand why.

I first heard about this Creole Tomato Jam at a cooking class in La Cucina in Reading Terminal Market.  

Hosted by Anna Florio who had organized a "Girls' Night Out", I crashed the class in order to feature it here. 

The chef that night was Bill Beck of Beck's Cajun Cafe and this jam was on his demonstration menu.

This recipe comes courtesy of the official New Orleans website,, which is well worth a visit.  This site offers a wealth of ideas and insights into the history, traditions, culture and food of this wonderful city.  

Creole Tomato Jam (Makes 1 cup)

1 pound Creole tomatoes (about 3 medium)** see cook's note
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 whole cloves
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme
3 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
Juice of 1 lime

(The online recipe suggested that this step 1 is optional.  We'd suggest that it's worth taking the time to do this as you'll get a smoother jam without the skins.)

  1. Cut an X on the bottom of the tomatoes and plunge them into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle, and peel.
  2. Roughly chop and put the tomatoes, with their juices, into a saucepan with remaining ingredients
  3. Over medium-low heat, stir gently and occasionally until almost all moisture evaporates and mixture thickens into a jam-like consistency, 45 minutes to an hour
  4. Remove bay leaf, thyme sprig and cinnamon stick. Ladle into a clean jar or container
  5. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
**Creole tomatoes can be any large, round, meaty tomato grown in Louisiana; they are not one particular varietal.  Around here,  ripe beefsteaks, Jerseys, or any of the large, flavorful heirloom varieties are a reasonable substitute.

The mixture at the start of the process...

The ruby rich jam 45 minutes later...

Serving Ideas
  • As a chutney-like condiment for a cheese plate
  • As a condiment for any roasted/grilled meats (it was especially good with a slow-roasted salmon)
  • As a final flourish to crostini/appetizers

Use your imagination and marry it with any number of foods!

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