Seasonal fare: yellow tomatoes
Tomatoes, we relish, in all of their guises. On the vine, small Santini and generous Marmande. Braised, griddled or simply enjoyed whole with their sharp pop that soon turns to pulp. Grass green, purple-tinted black, cheery red and indeed sunshine yellow varieties are welcomed onto our plates and into our pots and pans.
Today though, we channel our efforts into singing the praises of the glossy and golden yellow tomato. Said to have been first encountered in 1544 by the Italian herbalist Mattioli, he named them ‘mala aurea’, translating from latin as ‘golden apple’. It wasn’t until 1554, that he first cited the red variety, leading many to believe that it was the yellow tomato that was the source of European tomato discovery. Lemon Boy, Earl of Edgecombe, Dixie Golden Giant – whichever kind takes your palate’s fancy, you may expect sweetness, mildness and less acidity than its rouge-faced cousin.
It is in early summer months that they are at their most delectable, there to be scattered onto slices of basil-laden bruschetta, broken down beneath the weight of pecorino pasta suppers, or combined with onions, lardons and oregano to give rise to a summer’s soup you’ll want to lunch on all season long. Yet, it is the simplicity of this yellow tomato and mint jam that you shall find in constant supply in our pantry. Spread it onto a lightly toasted slice of sourdough as a speedy snack for the time-poor or spread it over a pizza base in place of customary passata, and you shall likely find yourselves as addicted as we.
From the pantry
1kg yellow tomatoes
1kg golden caster sugar
10 mint leaves
1. Place your assortment of yellow tomatoes – any size will suit – into a pan of boiling water. By leaving them for ten seconds or so, it will make them easier to peel.
2. Drain them, carefully check they are not too hot to handle, and then peel the skin off each one before slicing each tomato into quarters. Squeeze to remove the pulp – you may wish to keep the juices for a pasta sauce.
3. Add the tomatoes back to the pan along with the sugar and juice of one fresh lemon. Stir to combine and let the mixture stand for a few hours if you can so the flavours infuse.
4. Next, increase the heat to medium-high and leave the jam to cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. As it nears the end of the allocated time, introduce the mint leaves, chopped finely, and stir once more.
5. To check if the jam is ready, drop a touch of jam onto a cold plate and tip it to one side. The jam should slide ever so slightly. If it is too runny, cook for a little longer.
6. Finally, skim any top layer from your jar and pour into glass jars to store. Allow to cool and then keep in your refrigerator for a month, once opened or up to six months, sealed.