Years ago I read about a Parisian restaurant whose star dessert was tomatoes, stuffed with citrus peel and spices and braised in vanilla-scented caramel. It sounded a little questionable at the time, but after making a batch of savory tomato jam this summer I decided to give the tomato-vanilla-citrus combination a try. The result is incredible. The vanilla and lemon bring out the sweetness and hidden fruit character of the tomatoes. It's great paired with aged cheeses, used as a glaze for chicken or pork, or just slathered on a slice of good bread. —Claire from Hivequeen
Remove the stems from the tomatoes, and chop them into fairly small chunks. You don't need to remove the skins or seeds — they'll cook down into the jam and add a nice bit of texture.
Put the tomatoes in a large non-reactive pot and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until they're reduced in volume to about 5 cups and the texture has thickened. Stir them occasionally so they don't burn.
Slice the vanilla pods open lengthwise and scrape out the paste — it's where the flavor is. Add the paste to the tomatoes. (There's plenty of vanilla flavor left in the pods: use them to make vanilla-infused sugar or vodka.)
Add the juice and zest of one lemon, and 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste).
Simmer on low, stirring regularly, for another 10 minutes or so. Taste, and adjust lemon juice and sugar if needed.
This is NOT a shelf-stable jam. You must store it in the freezer (about a year) or the refrigerator (about 3 weeks, once defrosted).