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Tomato Jam

At the beginning of each lunch and dinner in Morocco, we were served a selection of Moroccan salads. Moroccan salads are small plates of sweet or spicy vegetables served raw or cooked. We ate spicy grilled eggplant, chickpeas with onions and paprika, warm carrots glazed with brown sugar and cinnamon, oranges with black olives,  and sweet tomato jam.

Tomato Jam

(adapted from Paula Wolfert’s Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco and Ghillie Başan’s Flavors of Morocco)

  • 2 ½ pounds vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or minced
  • a pinch of saffron, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided in half
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons buckwheat honey

Fill a 4 quart sauce pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Score the bottom of each tomato with a cross cut and lower into the boiling water. Boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and cool in a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle remove the core from the tomatoes and peel the skin. Remove the seeds by slicing the tomatoes crosswise and squeezing gently. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

Place the tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, saffron, ginger, half of the cinnamon, salt, pepper, olive oil and water in a 4 quart heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the water has evaporated. The tomatoes will thicken to a sticky jam-like consistency and will begin to fry in the olive oil. At this point, add the honey and the second half of the cinnamon to the sauce pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes more to combine the flavors.

Serve the tomato jam at room temperature with bread or as part of a larger Moroccan salad spread. The tomato jam is a delicious accompaniment to grilled chicken or lamb and couscous.

The tomato jam can be served with semolina baguette instead of traditional Moroccan country bread dusted with cornmeal.



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