Welcome back to Hey Chef, a series where we ask pros around the country for tips on how to use ingredients we love. Today: how to get the most out of your jar of jam.
Lots of us have a plethora of jam jars idling in our refrigerator doors, some with mere centimeters of sticky fruit lining the bottoms. Instead of rinsing out those dregs, here are some ways to use them up from chefs we love around the country.
At Proof on Main in the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY, executive chef Levon Wallace crafts a seasonally inspired menu that references the culinary traditions of the American South.
Everyone's bought a jar of orange marmalade at some point, used it once, and never used it again. We make it into what we call "Shorty Marmalade." After you've made short ribs, pot roast, pork or beef cheeks, or oxtail, you end up with this sticky braise. Cut it with orange marmalade, add a little bit of vinegar (it's pretty rich with the fat of the meat), and cook it all down until you have this fragrant condiment—almost like a braised meat chutney. Spread that on a piece of toast and, as-is, it's great. Follow it up with a little bit of bone marrow and it's just gluttonous and so delicious. It's a meat condiment that puts the whole concept of bone marrow over the top, since it's already such a rich dish. Altogether this is my total guilty, fatty, boom-boom, favorite gluttonous treat.
Amanda Cohen has received numerous accolades for her vegetarian cuisine at New York's Dirt Candy, including a glowing two-star review in the New York Times, a Michelin Bib Gourmand nod (one of only two vegetarian restaurants recognized by the guide), and a Top 10 best vegetarian restaurant in America from Food & Wine. Cohen is also author of the award-winning Dirt Candy: A Cookbook. Dirt Candy is currently reopening in a larger location soon.
When you bake a plain kind of muffin like vanilla or lemon, instead of mixing fruit into the batter, take a good amount of jam, layer it midway into the muffin, top it off with more batter, and let it bake. You have this really nice surprise inside your muffin, and it's a good way to use up those jars with almost no jam left in them that we all have in our fridge.
Chef Annie Pettry grew up gardening, foraging, and fishing in her home town of Asheville, North Carolina, and made some serious cooking stops before landing at Decca Restaurant in Louisville. A 2014 Starchefs Rising Star, her menu relies on the diverse products of Kentucky agriculture.
Stir raspberry or grape jam into baked beans with some mustard to add a bit of sweet and sour—it makes baked beans so much better. My parents were hippies, so it wasn't traditionally Southern anything, just something that my mom and I used to do. We'd take white beans, tomato paste, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic and onions, maybe a pinch of cumin, and then add the jam and mustard. It's been a long time since I've done this, but that's what jam still makes me think of.
This is kinda weird, but it's awesome. Take grape jelly and fold it into your traditional veal or pork meatballs—not tomato-based ones, but more like a crock pot-style meatballs. It makes them super moist and adds a touch of sweetness. I do maybe two tablespoons per pound of meat—if you add too much it'll be nasty.
Jeff Mahin is a chef/partner at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and the creative force behind Stella Barra Pizzeria (Santa Monica, Hollywood, Chicago, DC opening winter 2014), Summer House Santa Monica (Chicago, DC opening winter 2014), and M Street Kitchen (Santa Monica). Mahin has accumulated several industry accolades including Zagat's "30 under 30," Forbes "30-under-30" list of hospitality industry up-and-comers and Restaurant Hospitality's "13 to watch in 2013."
I lived in England for a long time, and one of the big desserts there is called an eton mess. Basically it's whipped or Chantilly cream that's folded with different jams and berries and cookies, so it's like eating whipped cream with fruit. For the eton mess I take any kind of jam—especially strawberry rhubarb, which is tart and sorta savory—then take crumbled up vanilla cookies or wafers, then throw everything with the whipped cream into the bowl, and fold it over a few times so that it's a swirl of jam and cream and cookies, and nuts or chocolate chips if you want. Then I throw it in a parfait dish. People are blown away with all the textures and stuff, but it's really simple; a sloppy parfait.
I use a gooseberry jam that I bought at a Russian market in northeast Philly to glaze carrots with mustard and caraway seeds. You get a bit of spice and heat, and the gooseberries add a flavor that's a little unexpected. It's a good way to incorporate any jam into a savory vegetable dish, giving the right amount of viscosity and tartness to a glaze. Use it on kale, turnips, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables.
Cheaty Gelée for Chicken Liver Mousse
Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly grew up in French-speaking Quebec, where he would later work at renowned Montreal restaurants including Toqué and Au Pied de Cochon. Brunet-Benkritly now serves as the executive chef/partner at Fedora and the recently opened Bar Sardine in New York City.
Jam is great with chicken liver mousse, or a nice and salty smoked sturgeon. As long as the jam is not too sweet, serve it with fish or a buttery chicken liver mousse, since they're fatty and can take it. I'd go for more like an apple, black currant, raspberry over blueberry or strawberry—something with acidity.
Load Up a Tart
Take a tart shell and fill it with jam and fresh fruit. Spoon the jam into the bottom of the tart shell so that it's almost filling the tart, and then put the same fresh fruit on top, like pairing blueberry jam with fresh blueberries. Maybe add a layer of slightly sweetened ricotta on top of the jam, and then top with blueberries soaked in a red wine syrup. People tend to think of ricotta as a savory item, but used this way gives the tart a sweetness and a few varying textures. Jams at room temperature tend to be runny, and people seem to love anything molten, so if you cut into a tart and have this oozing thing coming out...oh yeah. That's what I like.
Michael Toscano recently left his position as chef and partner at Perla, Montmartre, and Jeffrey's Grocery to relocate to Charleston, NC with his family. After working at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery, Michael was named a sous chef at Mario Batali's Babbo at the young age of 21, and later served as the opening executive chef at Eataly's Manzo.
Take nice jams and use them as bases for lemonade. If I have a jam, I'll replace the sugar in a lemonade with a whole jar of jam, squeeze fresh lemons in, and then have this amazing flavored lemonade. Strawberry rhubarb jam works particularly well.