Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tomatoes are not just for salads

   If you ever thought that tomatoes are just for salads or pasta sauce... well, you are wrong.  Last week, I was delighted to try a new use for tomates, in a preserve.  I had the wonderful experience of eating a bruschetta made out of tomato preserve.  My taste buds went crazy trying to identify all the ingredients the preserve was made of.  But, surprisingly I could not identify them all.  All I could say was how tasty and original this simple bruschetta was, yet so utterly delicious.  The person responsible for this epicurean delight was a friend of my husband whom I just recently met. His name is Mel Aguirre.  He is a canarian born from the island of La Palma who has many culinary secrets well kept.  But the secret to his "mermelada de tomate" (tomato preserve), he had to tell me.  It took me several days of begging, teasing and finally harassing, for Mel to give me the recipe.  And today, I will reveal this secret to you all.  I must confess that it is a time consuming recipe, although the results are worth any effort.  I assure you will not be disappointed.  One tip that I can give you for those who are in quite a hurry, use a pressure cooker.  It shortens the cooking time, however I am afraid it will also lessen the complexity of the flavors.  Patience is the key to this delectable tomato preserve.
     Tomatoes are very popular in the Canary Islands since it is one of their principal agricultural exports, along with bananas.  So it will not be difficult to find them all year around.  And England is one of the main beneficiaries of the canarian tomatoes because it is one of our main importers of agricultural goods.  Anyhow, in today's world it doesn't really matter where you are.  You can find tomatoes anytime thanks to the advances in agriscience.   So there is no excuse for you to try Mel's famous tomato preserve.
And here, toasting for good times are my husband and my dear friend Mel Aguirre.  Salud!
Authentic Canarian Tomato Preserve
   The tomato preserve bruschetta has a deep sweet and salty flavor enhanced by the Blue Stilton cheese.  Stilton is a cheese from the United Kingdom, and it comes in two varieties: blue and white, blue being the most appreciated.  No wonder British call it "the king of cheese."  Anyhow, if you can not find it in your market, substitute it by any quality Blue Cheese. 
  • 2 pounds of small ripe tomatoes (1 kilo)
  • 2 pounds of granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lime peel 
     Cut the tomatoes in cubes and introduce them in a large pot with the sugar.  Let it sit for 10 minutes for the sugar to mix with the juice released by the ripe tomatoes.  After this, put the mix in the stove on medium heat and when hot, add the cinnamon and the lime peel.  Blend it well with a wooden spoon, lower the heat to the minimum, and cook for about six hours.
    After six hours of cooking, take out the cinnamon and lime peel, and set aside.  Put the rest in a food processor and mix for about 20 seconds.  Pour it back into the pot, add the cinnamon and lime peel that you previously had set aside, and place it back on low heat for four more hours.
    Meanwhile, sterilize several glass jars by putting them a few minutes on boiling water.  This is to prevent any bacteria from contaminating your preserve.
    When the preserve is finally ready, fill the jars with it and secure the lids.
    I find that this tomato preserve is also a good pairing sauce with roasted pork tenderloin.
    Que aproveche!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...