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Tomato Jam with Lemons

Sweet, sour, savory and spiced, this slow-cooked tomato jam was created by Moroccan-born chef Mourad Lahlou. It’s a versatile condiment—serve on crostini spread with fresh goat cheese, as in this recipe, or use as a sandwich spread. The jam is also excellent with grilled or roasted lamb, egg dishes, potatoes, rice and couscous.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, ends trimmed
  • 1 Tbs. cumin seeds, toasted
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches long
  • 20 juniper berries
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. Tellicherry peppercorns
  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked
  • 5 allspice berries
  • 2 lb. cherry tomatoes, stemmed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 medium jalapeño, preferably red, stemmed, seeded and
      finely diced
  • 1 cup Champagne vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. molasses
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 3 inches long, peeled and cut into
      1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Crostini for serving
  • Goat cheese for serving

Directions:

Cut the lemons in half lengthwise. Using a food processor or a sharp knife, cut the lemons crosswise into very thin half-moons. Place the cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, juniper berries, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom pods and allspice berries in a piece of cheesecloth and tie to make a sachet. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the tomatoes, sugar and butter and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent the sugar from burning, for 6 to 8 minutes; the tomatoes will split and release their juices. Add the lemon slices and jalapeño and boil for 3 minutes more. 

Stir in the vinegar, lime juice, molasses and ginger. Add the spice sachet and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the jam has reduced by half, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in the salt and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the jam has thickened, 10 to 20 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature. Discard the spice sachet.

Transfer the jam to a jar and top with a 1/8-inch layer of olive oil. Cover with the lid. Refrigerate for up to 1 month. To serve, spread crostini with goat cheese and top with tomato jam. Makes about 4 cups.

Adapted from Mourad: New Moroccan, by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan, 2011).