Here’s a fun seasonal project for those of you who have a surplus of cherry tomatoes. Or for people like me, who just can’t get enough cherry tomatoes while they’re here. Tomato jam! It’s sort of like peppery, jammy ketchup and I’m really into it.
Fair warning; tomato jam requires a lot of tomatoes (one and a half pounds yields a scant cup of jam). If you’re so willing, I can offer you a delicious tomato jam, basil and mozzarella-Parmesan panini, which can also be made as a grilled cheese sandwich. I used my electric grill to make panini because that sounded like more fun at the moment.
This is more of a flexible recipe than most, so use your best judgment when it comes to cooking the jam down and grilling those sandwiches!
- 2 pints (about 1½ pounds or 4 cups) cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes or Sungold tomatoes, halved crosswise
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Several twists freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices whole grain sourdough bread
- 2 cups grated low-moisture part-skim mozzarella (you might not need this much cheese, depending on the size of your bread)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Tomato jam
- 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
- Olive oil or butter, for frying
- To make the jam: In a medium-sized pot (around 2½ quarts) over medium-high heat, combine the halved tomatoes, honey, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to avoid scorching as the jam condenses.
- Simmer until the mixture is completely broken down, reduced and thickened enough that you can scoop it on top of itself and it stays there, which will take somewhere between 30 to 50 minutes. Use the jam immediately or let it cool and store it, covered, for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
- To make the sandwiches: If you're making panini, brush olive oil or melted butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place the oiled sides down on a plate. Mix the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese together. Working in pairs, spread a generous layer of jam on one piece of bread and top the other with a generous handful of cheese, spread evenly down the bread (use a little more than you think you probably should). Top the cheese with a sprinkle of torn basil and press the other slice of bread, tomato jam-side down against the cheese to make a sandwich. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
- Grill the sandwich in a panini press, electric grill or in a pan on the stovetop until both sides are crispy and turning golden brown on the edges. (I used an electric grill set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, but here's a stovetop method that has worked for me... feel free to just make a grilled cheese here.) Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
- Slice the sandwich in half and serve!