A friend was telling me recently about a food truck that grills amazing sandwiches and they are all served with this amazing tomato jam. Tomato jam. I could not get those words out of my head after our conversation. I must have tomato jam. I must make tomato jam. What can I put tomato jam on?
My obsession led me to the Interwebs. And, as I usually do to the dismay of friends and relatives who would like a simple answer to "may I get the recipe for (that thing you just made)?" I read dozens of recipes for tomato jam, picked ideas from each I thought I'd like, and wandered into the kitchen with loose notes scrawled on a scrap of paper. I'm doing much better: at least I keep the notes now, so I have something to try to share if it works.
All recipes I found called for a ton of sugar, although there were a lot of comments about the recipes being too sweet as written. I feel better when I avoid processed sugar and mostly use maple syrup or raw honey to sweeten stuff. I thought maple syrup might be just the thing for the blend of spices and flavors. Most of them cooked it slowly on the stove top, but there was one recipe that roasted it in the oven (so sorry, Genius Recipe Author, that I forgot who you are). This is how I like to cook. I roast just about everything in the oven: vegetables for soup, tomatoes for sauce, bacon to add to other recipes, whatever.
So, you know my thing. I'm not a food blogger with a fancy camera who creates (or follows) exact recipes. My measurements are loose, at best. But when there's something this good I think you should try, I'll share it here. Do your own thing with it! I bet a vegetarian version with onions and garlic instead of bacon would be pretty amazing, too. Have fun, be creative, and I hope you love this as much as I do:
Oven Roasted Tomato and Bacon Jam:
1-1/2-ish pounds tomatoes, cut into small chunks (even sad beige woody wintertime store-bought ones will work)
1/3 to 1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2-ish cup cooked bacon, cut into small chunks
The juice of 1 lime
2 T freshly grated ginger root
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Cinnamon (I used a couple heaping tablespoons because I'm using up an ancient jar I found in the back of my cupboard and it's not very cinnamony; you'll probably be fine with even 1/4 as much)
Generous sprinkles each of ground cardamom, cumin, and allspice
A small pinch of ground cloves
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fully line a 9 x 13" cake pan with parchment paper, up around all edges. Spread tomatoes across bottom of pan. Top with bacon & jalapeno, sprinkle with spices, and pour maple syrup over all.
Roast for an hour or two, pulling out once or twice to stir. You want it to get nice and browned and caramelized: not too soupy and pale, but not too dry and dark. After cooling slightly, if you like, scoop into a bowl and dip an immersion mixer into it a few times to break up the larger chunks. You could also pulse it gently in a food processor, or just leave it chunky.
This was soooooo good, you guys. Sweet and savory, tomatoey and mapley and spicy and of course, bacony. Gah! I served it with oven fries on Superbowl Sunday. Guests spread it on just about everything else, too.
And a few minutes ago, I stopped at the fridge and ate some on a piece of cheese. True story. It would be awesome on any burger or sandwich. One guest even suggested eating it on pancakes. What will you put it on?