Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tomato Relish

In the Summer of 2012, I had the fortune of visiting Portland, Oregon.  One morning we went to the Grand Central Bakery for breakfast.  (If you are in the area, go!)  On the special they had a toasted bagel with poached egg and "Tomato Relish".  I'd never heard of tomato relish before this.  I like pickled things.  I like tomatoes.  I must try this! 

When I placed my order, the gentleman at the counter said they'd just gotten in a crate of heirloom tomatoes that morning, did I want a fresh tomato instead?  Living in the SF Bay Area, I'd been eating tomatoes since May from my garden, and started to wonder if all of the lycopene would change my skin color.  "Actually, I'm dying to try tomato relish instead."  Oh, I'm so very very glad I did. 

After I was back home, I continued to think about the recipe, especially in light of the end of tomato season approaching at my house.  I emailed Grand Central, and they sent me their recipe.  (Seriously, this bakery has it all - amazing staff, great food... huge praise!!!)  I adapted it for canning and an over-abundance of fresh tomatoes, and it's been a huge hit.  Besides being great wherever you might use ketchup or salsa, it makes the absolute best pizza sauce.  Over the last two years I've been asked for the recipe, and now I'm finally getting it in an easy to share form.

There was two other events that convinced me to capture the recipe.  One was Meg asking for a copy (Hey Meg!) and the other was that I thought I lost my dog-eared paper with notes scribbled on it.  Almost had a heart attack.  Falling to sleep fitfully thinking, leeks... it had leeks... isn't comforting.  So without further ado....

Earlier this summer I dehydrated several batches of cherry tomatoes from the garden and packed two pints full of leathery dried tomatoes and olive oil.   We've used store bought with the same good results.  Last year the tomatoes were dehydrated and not packed in oil.  This made them a bit chewy even after canning, mostly because I got tired of trying to chop them. Olive oil is the way to go. 

Last week I ordered a 20 pound box of canning tomatoes from Blue House Organic Farm through Good Eggs.  I used about 18 pounds total in this recipe.  I had to throw about three tomatoes out for mold, and used about two pounds to roast with garlic in the oven. 

Getting started! 
You don't need all that silverware.
Makes 14-15 pints. 
Olive oil
3 yellow onions  (white works fine too, we buy yellow in bulk)
8 leeks (or 10. Whatever.)
2 pints sundried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped in a food processor, vitamix, or by hand
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup honey (brown sugar works too, but if you have a hive in your yard... honey!) 
18 pounds of tomatoes, roughly chopped, skins on. Or skins off. Both work! 
Lemon Juice

This recipe can be scaled way back for 1 pint servings that require no canning and will last in the fridge for up to four weeks.  This recipe is also very flexible and very forgiving, so experiment with flavors! 

Saute onions in olive oil until they begin to carmelize.  Reduce heat, add diced leeks.  Saute together until leeks are tender.  (If you are me, start this in the smaller blue pot, realize you are out of room after adding the leeks, and then transfer the onions and leeks after cooking to the big silver pot.)

While the onions and leeks are cooking (or before if you are magical and prep things) begin to chop the tomatoes.  I do not remove the skins, I like the bit of texture they give.  The original recipe did call for skinned tomatoes, and that worked too.  I did not opt to save the juice as I wanted to reduce the total amount of liquid, but saving a small amount makes deglazing (in the next step) easier. 

A cutting board with a moat is totally my friend.

Use the liquid from the fresh tomatoes and mix with the chopped sun dried tomatoes to deglaze the onion and leek saute pan.  The vinegar can be added to aid this process if needed.  Reduce heat once the volume is lower, now the vinegar, honey, and salt should be mixed together.  (I did all of this in the too small blue pan and transferred it to the onions and leeks waiting in the silver pot.) 

Bring the mixture of onions, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and honey to a simmer.  Begin to add tomatoes as they are chopped, and cook this to a desired consistency.  (It should start to smell really good soon!)  Adjust for seasoning if you want during this time. 
(A bit too steamy, but there it is cooking away!) 

As it reduces, make sure your jars are cleaned and prepped, along with the equipment. 
My ever faithful cat wanted me to know that it was hot. (Yes, cat, I know. We only can when it's hot out!) 

Each jar gets a teaspoon or more of lemon juice added to it.  Add the sauce to the jars, leave 1/4" head space, and process for 15 minutes of boiling water bath.  (And if you are me, burn yourself about a dozen times.) 

Done!  The delightful sound of lids pinging sent me off to bed.  When I get home from work today, I'll remove the rings, test the seals, and label all of these.  For now, a job deliciously done. 

Where's my cauliflower pizza???

The original recipe, with my notes from 2012 and 2013 included. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this recipe!!!! I hope to try it in the future. :)