Tomato Jam Session


My new friend (and art patron), Kim Watkins, wrote a while back and asked for this recipe, said she was intending to serve it for dinner when her in-laws came for a visit. I do love to hear who these recipes get served to, what words they might use to describe what they taste, and how many times they lick their fingers — I take joy in those little pieces of everyday extraordinaryness, the vision of someone’s mess-faced children bellied-up to the supper table, smearing their chubby fingers across an earthen plate to sop up that last spicy, treacly goodness.

Since I had this written up I thought it might be sharing time again. Here’s the best semblance of August 7th’s tomato jam recipe I can come up with — I had it in mind for weeks (months?) theoretically, but totally concocted it on the fly.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, sweat in 2 tbsp olive oil until translucent…

1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
throw in some kosher salt (a teaspoon, perhaps), 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 of rosemary

add to that….
2 28-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes (Hunt’s is my favorite)
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup chopped kalamata olives
the zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp. cinnamon

Now this is important: let the mixture simmer over mediumish heat for a good while. Let it reduce, linger, loiter, cook down, get all sticky and jammy….the consistency should be similar to something you’d want to smear on your morning toast. Once this delicious perfection has been reached, fish out the herb stems, taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper if needed.

So as anyone who attended Hutchmoot knows and can attest, it’s quite good served with the Moroccan chicken. It could also be tossed with some hot, fresh pasta, crumbled goat cheese and fresh lemon zest for a belly-warming quick supper. Perhaps you’d like it piled onto some slabs of crusty artisan bread, toasted or grilled, then topped with some shards of ricotta salata or parmesan and fresh basil torn over the top. Or maybe you just want to sit on the couch with the pan, a spoon and a glass of pinot noir. Let me know which scenario you end up choosing.

Instead of just cherry-picking one for the next go-round, are there any recipe requests while I’m at it?


  1. Donna

    This WILL BE served to my friends on our mountain trip come October – probably with a bottle of wine, dense dark bread and freshly cooked chickpeas. I made the Moroccan chicken for my hubs, son, daughter-in-law and grandson soon after you posted the recipe. There was a chorus of deep moans, slurps and finger licks followed by “can I get this recipe from you before we leave?” The smell of that yumminess cooking should be bottled and sold for megabucks – now that would underwrite some projects!

  2. Kim Watkins

    I am so honored to share my 15 minutes of fame with such beautiful tomatoes.

    I’m ashamed to report, though, that I didn’t end up serving this to my in-laws when they were in town. For good reason, though … they showed up on my doorstep with 3 lb. of fresh-from-the-boat shrimp and fixins!

    Promise to share all the finger-lickin’ details when I make it, promise!

  3. Laura Droege

    This makes me wish my family was more adventuresome in their food choices. If it’s spicy, they’ll run far, far away (or at least to the other end of the house).

  4. Curt McLey


    Ah yeah, baby. I have been waiting for this one. Slabs of crusty artisan bread–grilled–then topped with shards of ricotta salata or parmesan and fresh basil torn over the top. Wow. That sounds perfectly awesome. But before all that ado, I’ll probably just lose control like a cat with catnip. This concoction is one of the best items I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming (period).

  5. Leanore

    Evie, I’ve read so much about all the memorable food – would you mind posting whatever your full menus were? Not necessarily all the recipes, unless you feel crazily inspired, just menu ideas. When I read you served Moroccan chicken amd sweet potatoes, that was it, cause you cook like me.

  6. Tim

    So, my wife made some of that moroccan chicken last night, using your recipe!!! WOW! I think I ate 3/4 of a chicken. It was so tasty!
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Peter Br

    Wow. My Italian heritage had not informed of the existence of “ricotta salata”. Thanks for the new word of the day — and yet another goodie that I must try to make.

  8. Tony Heringer

    Thanks Evie, I used cardamom this past Thanksgiving in an apple pie that my daughter and I made — it was a requirement that each family member help prepare at least one dish for that meal. It was the first time I’d used it and look forward to using it again — this might show up at the Heringer house some day soon. Mmmmm!

  9. Kim Watkins

    Mmmm … ahh … scrumptious, Evie. Truly scrumptious. (Finally) made this + the Moroccan Chicken last night for friends and there wasn’t a bit of chicken left over. We washed it all down with a nice rioja. Can’t beat sharing a great meal with great friends.

    Re: the chicken, I left my bird whole. (I just can’t get over the glory of serving a whole bird. Also, I’m better at carving than cutting up raw chicken.) And, remembering Redhead Kate’s sweet potatoes at Hutchmoot, I nestled my bird in a pan of sweet potatoes and onions, which came out glazed in the spice blend.

    This jam makes quite a lot — half a dutch oven-full in my case — but I was sure glad it did. I stuck a little container in the freezer to see how well it does in there. The rest, I shall eat all week long in various forms.

  10. EmmaJ

    Hey there, Evie!
    I got a culinary inquiry for you… Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun with cooking. I am curious to know your opinion on a kitchen-related matter. I have this goal in my head to not get all gadget-y. I feel like there must be just a few simple tools that a good cook can use for a variety of things. Besides a few good knives, are there some particular tools that are important to your kitchen magic? Thanks for renewing my inspiration for edible creativity!

  11. Ames

    thanks evie. i was so mouth-wateringly inspired by this…i tried it. well sort of. i kind of adapted it into a rustic tossed salad with fresh made sourdough croutons. i’m in australia, its summer – so a salad suited best. i added the thyme to the croutons as they roasted instead of the tomatoes. served with garlic seared asparagus. delicious thankyou.
    i love you’re writing, and faithful creativity
    a. x

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