August 11, 2013
Jamaican Tomato Relish
Unlike most of the recipes in my Jamaican repertoire, this is not spicy. Of course, you could change all that by adding a seeded, minced habanero along with the green bell pepper, but that's entirely up to you. It's a snap to make, requiring only a little chopping, a little simmering, and a non-reactive container to store it in.
This relish is great on burgers, hot dogs, cheese sandwiches, savoury pies, as a dip for tortilla chips (or crackers!), and as a bruschetta topping - pretty much anywhere you might otherwise use a salsa. It also keeps for a few weeks in the fridge without loss of quality. It's sweet and tangy and wonderfully summery.
I note that you can use a food processor to dice your vegetables, but the finished effect is much nicer if you chop them by hand.
Jamaican Sweet Tomato Relish
Makes 2 cups
1 medium yellow or red onion
1/2 large green bell pepper
5 medium Roma tomatoes, seeds removed
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
Finely dice the vegetables, and place them in a medium sauce pan with the sugar. Bring up to a simmer (don't add water - the sugar and the juices from the vegetables will provide ample cooking liquid), and let simmer, covered, over a low temperature for 20 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt and spices, and simmer another 20 minutes (uncovered) over medium heat, to thicken. Allow to cool slightly, and store in a glass jar. Store in fridge and use within 6 weeks.
Note: The first cooking stage smells kind of off-putting, because green peppers cooking in sugar is not the nicest smell in the world. Wait it out, it gets better. Also, try not to breathe in the vinegar when you pour it into the dish - the fumes are choke-inducing. Use your kitchen fan, if you have one.
This has become my favourite sweet relish. I often scoop some up with crackers as a snack.