Ah, the great Tomato Art Fest recipe contest. This year—my third entry—had the theme “bruschetta.” As soon as I found out, the gears started grinding. I’d already found a great recipe for a savory cornmeal scone, so I decided to do a breakfast bruschetta: a sundried tomato scone topped with tomato jam.
But what kind of tomato jam to make? Do you know how many thousands of tomato jam recipes there are out there? I don’t, but I’m certain “thousands” applies. Different methods, ingredients, sweetness and savory levels…there are a lot of options. I finally decided on what appeared to be the easiest, a jam made in the oven. No stirring, no scalding, hardly any work. And I threw in a few new elements to make it my own and, in my opinion, even better.
First, the scone. The original recipe was made with roasted bell peppers. Other than a few minor tweaks and subbing in sundried tomatoes, I made this exactly as published originally. It tastes fantastic with either peppers or tomatoes. And I love that it makes a small amount (half or one third the size of most scone recipes), so it was easy to test and tweak until I got it where I wanted it.
Second, the jam. I made a lot of changes to the basic recipe to get it to the final product and I was very happy with it. A little savory, a little sweet. It is downright delicious. Putting the two together, though, might’ve been overkill. I’m not sure, but once again, I was not a winner. Oh well. Despite that, I can say with confidence that it should’ve been. I had some expert tasters (two who don’t even like tomatoes, one who is a professional chef) test out the jam and scone and I got overwhelmingly positive reviews. So, quite the endorsements. Another reason you should try this out? It’s so easy. After you’ve chopped everything up, you just put it in your oven and let the heat do all the work. Caramelizing onions has never been easier. And the onions and the roasted garlic are wonderful additions to the tomatoes. The brown sugar and balsamic vinegar play off each other well, too.
Notes: for buttermilk, I just added 1/3 tablespoon to a measuring cup and then filled it to 1/3 cup with milk and let it stand while I prepped the dry ingredients for the scones. Boom, buttermilk. For the jam, I used a glass 9x13 baking dish and didn’t line it with aluminum foil. It took some soaking, but it all came off, so just use your judgment on that one. I also put the tomatoes in the freezer before peeling.
Oven-Roasted Tomato Jam
adapted from The Kitchn
yield: about 10 ounces
4-5 ripe red tomatoes, peeled
one bulb of garlic, divided and cloves halved
one medium onion, thinly sliced into 1-2” pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher or (coarse) sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dark brown sugar
Slice tomatoes into wedges and spread in a 9x13 baking dish/pan lined with aluminum foil (optional). Mix in the garlic and onion and drizzle generously with olive oil and then a light drizzle across the mixture with the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon and lightly dust with black pepper. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar on top.
Bake at 325°F for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes are very soft and the onions have caramelized. Increase the heat of the oven to 450°F and roast for another 15 minutes to char the tomatoes slightly.
Remove from the oven to cool. Stir to mash the tomatoes if necessary. Serve warm or room temperature, but store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks in a tightly sealed container.
Sundried Tomato Cornmeal Scones
adapted from Cooking Light
yield: 4 scones
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup diced moist sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup buttermilk
Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender, 2 knives or food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in tomatoes. Add buttermilk and stir just until moist.
Pat dough into a 6-inch circle (about hand-size) on a baking sheet lightly coated with oil and cut into 4 wedges. Bake at 400°F for about 25 minutes until golden. Serve warm.