People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
10/22/2007 Tomato rose jam (Confiture de tomates mures à la rose)
For one pint:
3 lbs. richly ripe red tomatoes, end of summer if possible 2/3 c. dark honey, such as thyme honey* 1 t. ground ginger 1 3-inch piece cinnamon bark 1/3 c. dried fragrant organic rose petals* 1/4 c. first quality rose water
*Use a dark and flavorful honey, but not a honey with an extremely pronounced flavor. Chestnut honey is too strong for this recipe.
**Dried damask rose petals or buds are available in Middle Eastern groceries. If using the buds, separate the petals from the calyces and then measure. Alternatively, dry your own!
Wash and core the tomatoes and cut them roughly into quarters. Put them into a heavy casserole, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, partially cover, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are soft and have given up their juice. Put them through the fine grill of a food mill to remove skins and seeds.
Return the resulting puree to the cleaned casserole, stir in the ginger and honey, and add the cinnamon bark. Simmer, stirring frequently, until extremely dark and thick (thicker than tomato ketchup). You should have about 2 1/2 to 3 cups. You can begin the reduction on medium heat, but turn the flame very low as the mixture concentrates to avoid scorching. Lightly crush the rose petals in a mortar and stir them into the tomato jam. Reduce further to 2 cups, stirring almost constantly, over extremely low heat. Stir in the rose water, cook another couple of minutes, and store in a clean jar in the refrigerator.
Note: This exotic jam is derived from the classic tomato jam served with some Moroccan chicken tagines. But it is much thicker and the heavy rose accent marries to the deep tomato flavor in a synergy of exoticism. More delicious than you can imagine! Serve with a chicken tagine, or simply with grilled chicken.