I’ve been making small batches of what I’m calling summer squash-tomato jam. The squash is first sautéed with fragrant thyme and garlic with a bit of heat from dried red pepper. Then, slowly simmered with tomatoes until they caramelize, flavors become rich and sweet. What I had in mind when I made this was as a topping for crostini—a perfect light bite to have in this warm weather. But, I’ve also been using this “jam” as a filling in an omelette with creamy goat cheese, or as a side with soft-boiled eggs and pan-fried potatoes with fresh herbs. I’m sure I’ll find other ways to use it too. Perfect for busy people—this vegetable jam keeps well refrigerated and it’s ready when you are. Recipe follows…
This works well with any combination of summer squashes like the zucchini and yellow squash that I’ve used here, but I’ve also made a batch using only yellow crookneck squash and it had a delicious, almost buttery flavor.
Summer Squash-Tomato Jam
3 T olive oil, more if needed,
1 or 2 fresh thyme sprigs
red pepper flakes
1 large clove finely minced garlic
1 1/2 cups summer squash, peeled and any large seeds removed, coarsely grated. Use any single variety, or combination of summer squash.
1 cup tomatoes, canned unsalted whole Italian plum tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes (blanch to remove skins) diced including their juices.
Wash and lightly peel the summer squash removing any tough outer skin,cut lengthwise and remove any large seeds. Coarsely grate the summer squash using the medium holes on a grater.
In a medium sauté pan heat the olive oil on low, add the red pepper flakes and thyme sprigs which will infuse their flavor into oil, letting them simmer for about 1/2 minute or so.
Add the finely minced garlic, watch carefully to not let the garlic brown or burn. Once the garlic has sizzled in the oil, add the grated squash and sauté for a minute or so until the squash starts to get some golden color.
Add the whole tomatoes to the squash, breaking them up in small pieces in the pan and releasing their juices. Slowly simmer until the tomatoes caramelize, become a rich red color, and liquids reduce, about 10-15 minutes. Cover the pan and keep a very low simmer for a few more minutes.
Use right away, or let cool and transfer to a bowl or jar. Keeps well in the refrigerator for three days.
Crostini, or “little toasts” in Italian, uses a smaller sized bread, compared with bruschetta, which uses a larger sized loaf, and are typically just a few bites. Perfect as an appetizer or snack.
1 French baguette or Italian loaf
1 garlic clove cut in half lengthwise
fresh basil leaves and thyme for garnish
Cut bread on a diagonal into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place on a paper lined cookie sheet and brush with olive oil on both sides.
Set oven to broil, toast bread slices under oven broiler for about 2 minutes on each side and remove. While still warm rub the cut open surface of the garlic clove over both sides of the bread slices. Sprinkle with a light dusting of sea salt.
Toasts are now ready for topping with the summer squash-tomato jam, garnish with fresh basil and thyme.
Toasts without topping can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.