We made this tomato and vanilla jelly for a spot we did on our local radio station (Flavour on Cambridge 105) about the uses for vanilla. You can here the podcast here. Be assured, whilst this most perfumed sweet spice remains firmly in our sweet cooking and baking drawer (like this blueberry, vanilla and mascarpone ice cream terrine), it has a use in savoury dishes. Well paired with squash and carrots, all sweet flavoured vegetables, and in Reunion my fellow foodie Gourmandises tells me it is used to flavour Duck.
We did not regret adding it to soften the sharpness of tomatoes in this soft, strained jelly that will be an excellent accompaniment to strong cheeses or cold meats. Here we drizzled it to soften a grassy grilled goat cheese, garnishing with some nasturtium leaves – part of a small patch of edible flower plants in our garden. Rocket leaves would work equally well. Peppery leaves, musty cheese and a sweet tomato jelly, a combination that has strong complementary flavours, satisfying but light, a perfect appetizer for the summer months.
Fresh tomatoes – seasonal and full of flavour. Inspired by this recipe, we used cherry tomatoes but since this is a strained jelly, any variety of tomato is fine to use. We had planned a jam as in the Saveur recipe but the tomato skin comes off during cooking – unattractive so we strained it and in fact prefer the jelly to the jam.
Let the fruit mascerate with some vanilla sugar, before cooking to a soft set and straining it.
We only got a small pot but a little dollop is all you need.
This tomato and vanilla jelly will add a soft sweetness to strongly flavoured cheese and cold meat. Perfect for summer salads.
- Half a vanilla pod (or half teaspoon vanilla paste)
- 150g (2/3 cup) sugar
- 400g (2 cups) of cherry tomatoes halved crosswise (or equivalent of larger tomatoes cut into pieces)
- 1 teaspoon pectin
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 200g goat cheese
- 1 french stick
- Salad leaves
- Slice open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds
- Mix with the sugar and combine with tomatoes
- Leave to macerate for 30 minutes
- Put into a saucepan on medium heat and stir occasionally until the tomatoes are cooked through and have started to reduce a little (to around three quarters of the original volume).
- Add the lemon juice and pectin and continue to simmer the mixture
- After 10 minutes pour the jam into a jelly strainer or clean muslin and allow the clear liquid to drain through.
- Transfer to a sterilised container and allow to cool
- To serve with Goat cheese, slice the cheese into discs of around 1cm (half inch) thick.
- Put the grill on high and slice the baguette on the diagonal
- Place a disc of cheese on each slice of bread and grill till the cheese is melted and starting to brown
- Serve with salad leaves (rocket or nasturtium will work well) and a drizzle of the jelly.
For other tomato recipes (her own and links to some great recipes by others) check out Laura’s How to Cook Good Food post here.