Monday, October 28, 2013

Smoked Gouda & Tomato Sage Jam Grilled Cheese


When the weather starts to get chilly in southern California, I know that it must be getting truly cold in the rest of the country. And there's nothing that takes the edge off of the cool, biting weather like a gooey, toasty, steaming hot grilled cheese, especially when that grilled cheese has sweet sticky jam inside. We all know that salty cheese goes great with sweet preserves, but there's something very special about the flavor of tomato jam. It has an acidity and tang to it that you can't find in other jellies, and a subtle warmth that comes from simmering away the tomatoes over low heat for an extended period of time.


I made it for the first time last summer, when my tomato harvest proved to be more than abundant and I needed to get creative with my tomato preservation options. I found the recipe over at Food in Jars, along with a bunch of tomato-preserving staples I use to this day, and was intrigued by the idea of a sweet tomato spread. So, I whipped up a small batch and gave it a taste. Cinnamon-y, sweet, and tangy, it immediately became my new jam (pun very much intended), perfect for sandwich toppings, delicious on burgers, and delightful with eggs in a basket.


The smoked gouda combination happened when me and Jeremy were laying around watching a movie one night and decided to have a cheese and cracker snack. We only had smoked gouda, and I decided to break out my little jar of jam to put on it too, just because I had started to put it on everything at that point. And low and behold, I discovered my favorite cheese and jelly combination. So I did what I do with all my beloved flavor combinations; I tried to make a sandwich out of it. I used sourdough bread because its mildly sour flavor works very well with the jam, but you could easily substitute your preferred bread of choice. The resulting sandwich was everything I'd ever wanted in a grilled cheese: gooey, salty, sweet, toasty, smoky, creamy...I ended up having two of them. But to be fair, the sandwich slices weren't very big so it was completely warranted. And I'm sure that upon tasting this fine creation, you'll feel the exact same way.



Smoked Gouda & Tomato Sage Jam Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

(2) 1/2 inch thick slices smoked gouda
2 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons tomato jam (recipe below)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature


Heat a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat until the surface of the pan is coated. To assemble the sandwich, butter the bread with the remaining tablespoon of butter, then spread 1 tablespoon of the jam onto each piece. lay two slices of the gouda on top of one of the slices touching the jam, and then place the other piece of bread on top, with the jammy side facing the middle. Place the sandwich on the pan and grill, covered, until the bread turns brown and crispy and the cheese begins to melt. Use a spatula to flip the sandwich over and repeat on the other side until desired toastiness is reached. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Tomato Sage Jam 


(adapted from Food in Jars, makes about 3 pints of jam)

Ingredients:

7 cups tomatoes, diced
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh sage, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves


Mix together all of the ingredients in a large pot over medium high heat until the mixture begins to boil. Lower to medium-low heat and allow to simmer until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, stirring every 10 minutes (take about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes depending on your heat level). Pour the jam into sterilized canning jars, seal tightly, and submerge in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove with canning tongs and allow to cool to room temperature.



26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You are so sweet!! I may just have to bring an extra jar of this jam home for you at Christmas.... :D

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  2. Can't wait to go and get the ingredients for this ... sounds perfect!

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    1. Thank you Jane! Definitely give it a try, it is crazy good. And the jam is so versatile, I've been wanting to use it is coconut milk as a base for a curry, too.

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  3. I just knew I should have made some tomato jam.

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    1. There is always next year :) Some farmer's markets might still have them fresh, depending on where you live.

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  4. I NEED to make some tomato jam. It looks soooo freaking awesome! Love the smoked gouda in this too :)

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    1. Awww thanks Katrina! You most certainly should, there's still lots of tomatoes in the market where we're at, we're lucky it stays nice and warm so long, we get to have fresh tomatoes 9 months out of the year. YUM!

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  5. Yum! We turned our tomato harvest into one pint (!) of sauce and another pint of green tomato chutney. We only had two plants, so that kind of limited our options. But preserving tomatoes was definitely fun, and the results were delicious! We tried Edam cheese for the first time last week. It's soft and fruity; probably not strongly flavored enough to stand up to a jam like this. I love the flavor of smoked cheese!

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    1. Oooh Edam cheese? I just googled it and it sounds delicious (any cheese that has a "nutty" flavor descriptor is a winner in my book). Going to have to pick that up the next time we're at the market! And yum for chutney! I have only made it with ripe tomatoes, and haven't done any experimenting with green tomatoes, sadly :( Although I do have some green tomatoes left on my tomato plant that I've been wanting to pull out, so I might wait until they're big and pickle them and then pull the plant out. Trying to make room for all the winter veggies in the garden :)

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  6. i have never had tomato jam but now I am convinced.

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    1. Highly recommend it! If you try it let me know how it goes :)

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  7. I can't stand eating fresh tomatoes (something about the texture weirds me out) but I love tomato sauces. That tomato jam sounds awesome, do you think it would work to make it with strained canned tomatoes?

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  8. I am not very good at canning but this looks worthy of a try. These flavors are perfect for me and will totally upgrade my cheese and tomato sandwich! I've tried raosting tomatoes but not this. Do you think it would keep in the fridge for while without going through the boiling process?

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    1. Hi Abbe! As long as you use clean jars (running them through the dishwasher on their own beforehand works well, the hot water in there does a great job of sterilizing them) it should keep at least a month in the fridge. Just make sure that you pour the jam into the jars right after it reaches the right consistency and put the lid on right after that. The longer the jam sits exposed and cooling outside the jar, the more mold spores and bacteria that are in the air will be able to float onto the jam. After you put the lid on them, let the jam jars cool to room temperature before putting them in the fridge. Let me know how it comes out for you!

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  9. Oh man, now I want this right now. Looks and sounds like heaven.

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  10. I've had tomato chutney but not jam. However, the ingredient list looks very similar to the chutney I make. I'm going to have to give this a try very soon.

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  11. This sounds amazing! I can't wait to make it...... Perfect timing as I've been craving grilled cheese <3

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  12. my first taste of tomato jam was a revelation, and it was so easy to make! this is one heck of a sandwich. :)

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  13. This sounds and looks delicious. I've never had tomato jam and just used up our tomatoes from this season. Guess I'll have to go get some to try out this receipe

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  14. I know I tell this all the time when I am in your space, your pictures are dreamy.
    Love everything about this sandwich. Tomato jam sounds intriguing. Pinned it a while ago to cook sometime.

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  15. I find the lime for acid really interesting- I wish I could find that last case of over-ripe tomatoes for sale at the side of the road and try this. But that's not happening in the Pacific northwest!
    Great combo once again.

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