When I saw the tropea onions on this weeks Share, I instantly thought of this savory jam. An Italian classic, it pairs well with fruits, cheeses, and a basic summer vegetable spread. The recipe featured was originally in a book about preserving Italy. Adapted and photographed by Emiko Davies – shared here.
Emiko’s Note: This is based on Domenica Marchetti’s Preserving Italy. In Domenica’s recipe, she also goes into further detail on processing jars (Water-Bath Canning), which is highly informative. The only alterations I made were to slice the onions finely rather than dice and I also used less sugar (about half), as the Tropea onions I had were naturally very sweet. As with most jams that don’t really have a pulp, watch this syrup carefully and make sure it doesn’t boil down too far or you’ll end up with a jam that is too sticky and less silky.
450 grams Tropea onions (or firm, young red onions), finely diced or sliced
400 grams sugar
250 ml dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 whole peppercorns
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
1-inch piece of vanilla bean
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Combine the onions, sugar, wine and salt in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
2. Place the peppercorns and other herbs and spices in a small piece of muslin/cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string for a little pouch that you can easily remove later. Add it to the pot.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Simmer, stirring often, until the jam has thickened and reaches 220-225 degrees Fahrenheit (104-107 degrees Celsius), about 20 minutes.
4. Domenica describes this fantastic way to tell it’s at the right stage: see if you can drag a path along the bottom of the pot with a silicon spatula. Or you can use the saucer in the freezer method (my favorite) to test for doneness — place a saucer in the freezer.
5. Once cold, place a blob of jam on the plate and spread it out or poke it a little with your finger. The idea is the plate should make it cool quickly and you’ll be able to see how it behaves and if the jam ‘wrinkles’ or not when touched or moved. If it does, it’s done.
I used this immediately (keeping one in the refrigerator and giving the others to friends) so I didn’t process my jars, but if you want to keep it, ladle the boiling hot jam into clean jars and screw lids on tightly. Process in a water bath, remove from the water and let dry upright. Store in a cool, dark place.