“Try some, no strings attached.” I raised a brow and looked at the man dubiously. When someone says that, usually there is a catch or he is peddling addictive substances. In this case it was the latter–sun gold tomatoes.
I was strolling through the Southampton green market with my mom and sister when we discovered these little beauties. (All of us love cooking and shopping so naturally, perusing food markets are a favorite family bonding activity.) I popped the golden-orange cherry tomato into my mouth and was rewarded with a burst of sweetness that left me in awe. No wonder he was giving away free samples. After a taste, we could not help but buy a few pints.
Sun gold tomatoes are a variety of cherry tomato, and measure approximately an inch in diameter. With its sweet fruitiness, my sister tried to pawn the tomatoes off as orange cherries to get her kids to eat them. After a moment of thought, my six-year-old niece (who has a keen palate and loves truffle oil, creme fraiche and caviar along with chocolate and chicken nuggets) declared that they were not cherries, they were tomatoes. Her younger brother was briefly fooled, but quickly followed suit and put his tomato back in the bowl. You can’t win them all. At least the rest of us agreed that these tomatoes were delicious enough to munch on like popcorn.
Chutney originated from India and can be best compared to relish. However, using sun gold tomatoes and reducing this chutney until it is thick gives it a sticky consistency and candy-like flavor similar to jam. But it is even better than jam when paired with something salty such as cheese and crackers because it has a warm, complex flavor that is sweet and tangy with a surprise spicy finish.
The warmth of the chutney comes from the coriander seeds. These seeds are really the dried fruit of the coriander plant. In America the leaves are often referred to as cilantro, but cooks in other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia call the leaves coriander as well. So if you are following a non-American cookbook, double-check the coriander in the ingredient list. It may be referring to the plant’s leaves instead of coriander seeds.
Coriander needs to be toasted or crushed in order to release it pungent, nutty and spicy flavors. Once I crushed my coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle, the heady perfume immediately made me think of Indian cuisine. No surprise, since it is one of the spices in garam masala and is often used in Indian curries. I also find that coriander seeds have a hint of orange and anise, which creates a sweet-savory taste within one ingredient. Tomatoes are generally a good complement to coriander seeds because the mild tang of the tomato balances the warmth of the coriander seeds, preventing the dish from feeling too heavy. In this chutney, we also get a bright and fruity sourness from the cider vinegar.
This dish boils down to throwing ingredients into a pot and leaving it to simmer, but the results are impressive. Fill a glass jar tied with a big beautiful bow and you have the perfect host or hostess gift to bring to a party. Include cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine and you can give the gift of a relaxing, sun-filled picnic experience. After all, food is not the end goal. It is an experience…and a satisfying way to connect with each other.
Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 cups
2 cups sugar
3 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed lightly
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3 pounds plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and quartered
3 onions, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
In a large heavy saucepan combine the sugar, the vinegar, the ginger, the salt, the coriander seeds, and the red pepper flakes and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the tomatoes, the onions, and the raisins and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until it is thickened. Let the chutney cool and transfer it to a bowl or jars. The chutney keeps, covered and chilled, for 3 weeks.
Keep the windows open and make sure your kitchen is well ventilated when reducing any type of vinegar. Otherwise, your eyes will burn and the whole apartment will be filled with astringent fumes. I learned this the hard way the first time I made a balsamic reduction.
I used sweet and succulent sun gold tomatoes instead of the plum tomatoes to give the chutney a candy-like flavor. I also did not peel the tomatoes so the chutney had a nice chunky consistency.
Consider serving the chutney with pork, or thinning it out with some tomato sauce to serve with meatballs.
Best Food Blog Nomination
If you enjoy the photography, the cooking information and sharing my journey with me on this blog please vote for the Tasty Pursuits “Best Food Blog” nomination! I really appreciate your vote. The Bloggers Choice Awards is a fantastic opportunity to get the word out on Tasty Pursuits.
Demo at the Brooklyn Good Food Fest this Sunday
Many thanks to Regina for slotting me in to demo Chinese Pan-Fried Chive Dumplings at the Brooklyn Good Food Fest this Sunday, September 12th. I will be at the demo station from 12:30pm to 1pm. Also stop by the Tasty Pursuits table from 12pm – 3pm for some mini chocolate cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting. The next few days will be jam-packed with baking to prepare over 150 cupcakes!
In the Press
I also wanted to share my excitement on an article about this blog that appeared in multiple publications such as the Bellingham Herald. I created this blog because I love to share information. So if you would like input for an article, or need someone to write a food-related piece for your print or online publication feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.