Thursday, April 12, 2012
Roasted Rhubarb-Tomato Jam
Spring is an inspiring time! The longer days, warm sunshine and fresh air energize me immensely and I find myself lost in thought at times, considering new ways to cook old spring favorites.
We had a rhubarb patch in our yard when I was growing up in Massachusetts, and seeing the enormous rhubarb leaves unfurl was always a welcome sign of spring. My mom would head out the porch door with a kitchen knife in hand and cut the crimson stalks to fill incredible rhubarb custard pies. I can’t wait to bake some of those soon!
We tend to create sweet dishes with rhubarb, such as strawberry rhubarb pie, treating it like a fruit when really it is a vegetable. (Yes, it is “officially” a fruit, according to the US Customs Court in Buffalo, NY. Or at least it was in 1947.) Rhubarb’s tartness balances out sweet berries and early summer fruit deliciously. With its pretty pink hue and bright flavor, it’s no wonder that rhubarb began starring in crisps and cakes.
But what about taking rhubarb in another direction? Say, drizzling it with olive oil and roasting it. And it never hurts to toss some sliced red onion and tomato on the pan, too. As the mixture roasted and softened and the kitchen smelled heavenly, a savory jam began to form.
I kept the spice simple – just some allspice and kosher salt – to allow the rich rhubarb flavor to shine. The resulting jam is a blushing bowl of tangy, tart taste. I served it alongside salmon (for a very pink meal!), and if you are barbecuing it would be terrific to accompany grilled chicken.
Roasted Rhubarb-Tomato Jam
Makes 1 1/4 cups jam
2 pounds of fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion, roughly chopped
6 roma tomatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
Olive oil to drizzle
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the rhubarb, red onion and tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Pop the pan into the oven and roast for 45-60 minutes, giving the mixture a stir a few times. When the rhubarb, onions and tomatoes have softened and are browning (some singed edges are good, too) remove from the oven.
Scrape the mixture into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until combined and no large chunks remain.
Pour the mixture into a medium sized saucepan and stir in the cider vinegar, allspice, brown sugar and kosher salt. Cook the mixture over medium heat and give it a few stirs for about 10 minutes, until it thickens a little and the flavors combine. Taste for salt, brown sugar and allspice and add a little more if desired.
Cool and store in a covered jar in the fridge. Serve with fish or chicken, or to jazz up a cheese platter.