Here is a summery spin on Will’s all-time favorite caprese salad. He loved fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes and fragrant hand-shredded Italian basil with a drizzle of quality extra-virgin olive oil and the occasional splash of balsamic syrup. Along with a crusty baguette the boy was happy to feast on what he considered one of the world’s best appetizers…..after fried calamari. He had such good taste.
But you know me. There has to be a new caprese in town. And this one is the jam. Toasted fennel tomato jam….ahhh! Wait till you taste it. With its combination of fresh herbs and spices it might remind you just for a second of your favorite Italian sausage or sweet pizza sauce. It’s the perfect recipe when the garden is overflowing with fresh ripe plum tomatoes or with a beautiful meaty mix of heirlooms from your favorite farmer’s market.
If you only ever make one recipe from my blog this is the one. The jam will last at least 3 weeks refrigerated (honey and vinegar and salt are natural preservatives), but if you are into canning then up to a year if you seal and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.
Eating this in the winter would certainly make it feel like summer all over again. It makes a great sandwich spread (think BLT or grilled cheese) and perfect with fresh mozzarella or burrata, basil and crackers. How about on a burger? Oh, yeah!
[recipe title=”Toasted Fennel Tomato Jam” servings=”4 cups”]
4 pounds tomatoes, cored and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice, (14 cups, diced)
1⁄4-cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted and ground
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
In large non-reactive saucepan, cook the honey over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, for 6 minutes or until it darkens slightly in color. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, salt, fennel, pepper and smoked paprika, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a loose jam consistency, about 2 hours. You will have about 4 cups of jam. Stir in basil. Pour into heat-proof containers. Chill. Makes 4 cups.
And if you like it spicy add a bit of crushed red pepper flakes[/recipe]