Tomato-bacon jam: Not just an explosion of flavor, but a strategy for joy.

Photo Sep 05, 1 12 39 PM.jpg
 

This is about tomato-bacon jam. 

As a cooking strategy. 

It pushes all the right buttons: Delicious, beautiful, fragrant, easy to make, easy to use in a lot of dishes, and a winner on the table.

And this is perfect for me. 

To say my family is "on-the-go" is crazily understated. 

As my gentle readers know, cooking is done in between assembling the jumbo jet of my family's life in mid-air before it lands at various airports (key airports being SCS - School Starting; TMM - Track Meet Mornings; BRH - Band Rehearsal).

So, tomato-bacon jam. It takes pleasure to the next level: It is joyous.

The difference between joy and pleasure is how much of your brain you bring.

Pleasure is a great thing. And you know my food drives straight down pleasure lane. 

But joy is even better than pleasure. You get joy from using your mind and heart to create and enjoy what you're doing.

That's why I find cooking recipes from magazines to be (delicious) pleasure destinations ... but they don't necessarily represent a strategy for joy. They're way too one-off. Way too fussy. Way too wasteful of ingredients I won't use tomorrow or even this month. 

For me, a joy strategy in cooking is something I can deploy a lot. It saves me time and money, and lets me spread food pleasure to my family and friends. 

And any cooking strategy for a busy mom is golden. 

 

 

Tomato-bacon jam

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb bacon, diced

  • 4 shallots, paper removed, sliced wafer thin

  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes

  • 5 cloves of chopped garlic

  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped oregano

In your largest EuroCAST skillet (you can get an 11" sauté for only $20 extra when you buy our stir-fry wok at the $299.99 web price -- check it out):

  1. Put the bacon, shallot and cherry tomatoes into the skill, on low

  2. Add a dash of salt.

  3. Let it sit 30 minutes.

  4. Stir occasionally -- but really, it won't need much stirring.

  5. After the 30 minutes, add chopped garlic and oregano

  6. Cook 3 more minutes

Spread it on baguette slices with goat cheese. It also pairs well with penne regate, grilled cheese, or my personal favorite, eating it in bed, with the (cooled) skillet in my lap. TV tastes better with this dish.

Or, be really clever with the puff pastry lovely below.

Tomato-Bacon Jam and Puff Pastry Appetizer

Now that you have the tomato-bacon jam, apply it widely. For example, on this puff pastry. 

Photo Mar 28, 5 34 14 PM.jpg
 

This is but one recipe that exploits the tomatoey goodness of the jam. But more ideas below (scroll on down if you want to actually skip this Napoleon recipe, which you don't.) This is why the tomato-bacon jam is not just a recipe ... it's a strategy.

Ingredients

  • One sheet puff pastry thawed at room temperature

  • Mozzarella

  • Basil leaves

  • Excellent quality olive oil

  • Crushed red paper flakes

  • For garnish, flat leaf parsley and carrot curls

  • Egg wash (1 beaten egg with 2 tablespoons water)

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.

  2. On a flat work surface, unfold the puff pastry and with a sharp knife cut along the seams, cutting into thirds.

  3. Working with one of the pieces at a time, cut each piece into halves, then cut those halves into thirds.

  4. Giving you 6 total pieces per cut 1/3 of the sheet.

  5. Repeat with remaining sheets.

  6. You should have at this point-18 pieces making 9 Napoleons.

  7. On your EuroCAST griddle (on sale here for $199.99, down from $329.99, boom), lined with parchment paper, place 9 pieces on for the first batch.

  8. Brush each piece with the egg wash and prick each piece with the tines of a fork several times. (This helps the pastry cook evenly).

  9. Bake until golden, but not browned, 5-7 minutes.

Allow to cool before assembling. 

To assemble:

Layer on the puff pastry:

  1. Tomato jam

  2. Mozzarella

  3. Basil leaves

  4. Red pepper flakes if you’re nasty (in the Janet Jackson sense, maybe)

Garnish with parsley and carrot curls.

 

Other ideas for this crazy-good jam

Of course, your imagination is best. But some inspiration: 

We mentioned pasta. We mentioned putting it on baguette slices. But how about: 

  • Toasted rye, tomato-bacon jam, cream cheese -- big for a snack or lunch, or sliced small to pass at parties.

  • Spoon the jam over roasted new potatoes

  • Drop onto scrambled eggs

  • Smear onto pork chops.

  • Take it out to the grill, in fact, and use with your usual hamburgers and hot dogs. And do it now, before grilling season is done!

 



What have you missed? Check these out.

Paul WardComment