Argentineans have different taste buds than Americans do. I'm not making this up. They take everyday ingredients and combine them in a way that just seems, well...wierd to most Americans. Case in point-Dulce de Tomate -Tomato Jam. The first time I heard about a tomato based jam, I thought I had misunderstood the person-a sweet jelly? Made from tomatoes? Like, for breakfast? And then I thought, but what does it taste like? V-8 on toast? I couldn't even imagine.
Dulce de Tomate is classic Argentinean comfort food, known by all, loved by most, and one of those things everyone's mom has a recipe for. As adults, Argentineans sigh wistfully at the thought of Dulce de Tomate, whisked back to those childhood days of Tomato Jam on toasted bread.
My mother-in-law encouraged me to smuggle a jar of it back home on my last trip there, (which I gratefully did) so I could bring a jar of home made comfort to my husband . And I was curious to try this notorious Tomato Jam for myself.
Dulce de Tomate is not savory, as tomato sauce is, but sweet, as any other jam, but with a hint of tomato. (Maybe it's the pound and a half of sugar that takes the edge off ...) All sarcasm aside, I can see this being really great on crackers or toast with a cheese course, accompanied by a nice dry Cava or Persecco. It 'd be something to balance out the sharpness of the harder cheeses, but not sweet enough to throw your palate off completely.
Florencia's Dulce de Tomate (Tomato Jam) Recipe
This recipe is my mother in law's. It's the middle of the harvest season there, and she just sent me a series of photos of the stages of making Dulce de Tomate, so stay tuned! This recipe can be scaled down so that it makes a few jars only, which can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week. If you have the tools to can the jam so that the jars are properly sealed, this makes one small batch.
6-7 lbs. (3 kilos) fresh tomatoes
6 cups (1 and 1/2 kilos) sugar
2 cups (1/2 liter) water
Wash the tomatoes and bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, submerge the tomatoes for a few seconds to scald them and remove to a bowl of cold water to stop the tomaotes from cooking. Peel them, cut in half and remove seeds. Weigh them-for every 6 pounds of tomato pulp, you'll need 6 cups sugar and 2 cups water.
Put the water and sugar in a pot on the stove top. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved in the water, making a syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil, add the 6 lbs. tomatoes, and cook for 15-20 minutes, lowering the heat to a simmer. Be sure to watch the pot so that it doesn't boil over-it gets foamy! The foam can be skimmed off the top. After 20 minutes, turn the stove off and let the mixture sit for a few hours.
After a few hours, re-heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, taking care that it doesn't stick or burn. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let cook for 1-2 hours, stirring periodically. After this time, the tomatoes should have a shininess and transparent look. Stir and taste for sugar, adding more if necessary for your taste. Let cook a little bit and then put into jars or follow the canning procedure for your canning set according to manufacturer's instructions.