Monday, August 19, 2013

roasted jalapeno peach jam.

As of late, jam has been on my mind.  It started when I realized I had already blown through my stash of strawberry jam in less than 2 months.  (Peanut butter and jelly is a staple of my diet and I have no shame in admitting I am partial to lunches usually favored by those under the age of 10.)  I mourned this loss and then I realized its summer and fresh fruit is everywhere and just because strawberry season is over doesn’t mean I can’t have cherry jam or apricot jam or some other delightful flavor.  

But then on Friday while the boy and I dined at one of those cozy wine bars where you need a flashlight to read the menu (candles while romantic and pretty are not always conducive to studying menus), I had a light bulb moment about jam.   We ordered a cheese and charcuterie plate that came with a sweet and spicy apricot mustard spread that made me realize I had been thinking about jam all wrong.  Jam doesn’t need to be a singular flavor to be used solely as a topping for toast or as a filling for cookies, it can be multi-dimensional and composed of unusual flavors.  With that thought roasted jalapeno peach jam was born. 

This jam begs for grilled cheese, a charcuterie board, or a roast chicken sandwich.  It’s bold and assertive but not overpowering.  The jalapeno heat is subtle but present.  The peach is sweet yet not cloying.  It’s balanced and perfect and I love it on toast with a side of scrambled eggs since a little heat at breakfast is always a good thing. 

Roasted Jalapeno Peach Jam
Makes about 2 cups

About 2 pounds of peaches, peeled and diced (awesome tutorial here about how to peel peaches)
1 jalapeno
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Roast the jalapeno.  You can do this over an open flame, turning the jalapeno until it blackens on all sides or in the oven by roasting for 10 minutes at 500 degrees until the jalapeno is black (turn the jalapeno on occasion).  Place the blackened jalapeno in a plastic bag and let rest for about 15 minutes or until cool enough to handle. 

Scrape the skin off the jalapeno and then seed and mince it.  Place the jalapeno in a large bowl along with the diced peaches.  Pour the sugar and lemon juice over the peach/jalapeno mixture and stir to coat.  Cover the bowl and let sit for about 3 hours to allow the fruit to macerate.  (If you can’t get back to the jam in 3 hours, you can let it macerate overnight in the fridge). 

Pour the macerated peach mixture into a heavy bottomed pot.  Allow the mixture to cook over medium heat for about 10 -12 minutes or until the peaches begin to breakdown and the mixture thickens slightly.  Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes. 

Transfer ¾ of the peach mixture to a blender or food processor (if you prefer a chunkier jam you can transfer only half if you prefer a smooth jam, transfer all of it) and puree until smooth.  Return the mixture to the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 10 – 12 minutes (stir on occasion to prevent scorching).  To test if the jam is ready, drop a heaping teaspoonful onto a plate and slightly tilt the plate. The jam should not run off, but cling and slowly glide down. If the jam isn’t ready, put it back on the heat for a while.

When cool, spoon the jam into a jar and refrigerate.  Use within 2 months of making. 

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