Why It Works
- Rendering and browning the bacon develops and concentrates its savoriness while providing fat for the onion and garlic to cook in.
- Draining excess drippings from the pan before simmering keeps the flavors of the jam vibrant.
- Pulsing the reduced mixture in a blender gives the jam a chunky consistency that is spreadable as well as texturally interesting.
When we are in peak tomato season, and my god, it is a glorious, glorious thing. Still, there's something sad about waiting all year for these few months to roll around, and then not be able to eat every single perfect tomato in sight. (Trust me, I've tried: One person can not eat even so much as a bushel of tomatoes per day.) Which means that, while we gobble up every raw tomato possible, we should also try to find as many interesting ways to use them as we can, and then preserve what's left over. This is one of the recipes that go beyond the usual gazpachos and Caprese salads, the most common fallbacks.
Classic fruit jams are of course wonderful, but I have a thing for more vegetable-oriented jams intended for savory applications. This killer tangy and sweet condiment in particular goes well on just about anything. Packed with tomatoes, bacon, and onion, it's perfect for topping burgers and sandwiches, or served alongside just about anything, from grilled chicken to a wedge of Brie.
Best of all, it's a cinch to make. First, bacon is cooked until browned and its fat has rendered. Then, onions and garlic are cooked in the rendered fat. After that, juicy, just-picked tomatoes are added, along with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmered until thick and spreadable. After a quick pulse in the blender—just enough to leave it a little chunky—it's good to go.
1/2 pound thick cut bacon, chopped
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup fresh ripe diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
Cook bacon in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent and softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain excess bacon grease from pan.
Stir in remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened to a jam-like consistency, about 1 hour. Discard bay leaf.
Transfer to a blender and pulse to combine, leaving some chunks. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||17%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 17g|
|Vitamin C 5mg||26%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|