[Photograph: Robin Bellinger]

I made this tomato-basil marmalade from Advertisement Hoc at Home to serve along with a roast for a special supper, once it was in my refrigerator it kept discovering its way into other meals. It is particularly delicious with a soft, not-too-crumbly goat cheese, either on a piece of bread or atop a salad. Put it out at brunch time for visitors to explore on toast, cheese, salad, or even sausage and other meats.

Here it is envisioned together with French toast. What you can’t see is that the bread was slit and stuffed with a couple of spoonfuls of the marmalade prior to it was battered and fried. It was okay, however this application didn’t really enable the marmalade to shine as I expected it to. Next time I’ll keep it easy, maybe whisking a spoonful of the acid-sweet tomatoes into olive oil and tossing that with tender lettuce– paradise.

  • Yield: 3-4 cups


  • 1/2 cup chopped fennel
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped leek (white and palest green parts just)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, very finely sliced
  • Canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup gently loaded light brown sugar
  • 1 cup red white wine vinegar
  • 8 slightly underripe beefsteak tomatoes, about 5 ounces each, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 cups loosely loaded basil leaves


  1. 1.

    Preheat the oven to 375 °. Put the fennel, onion, leeks and garlic in a 3-4 quart ovenproof pan and toss with a number of glugs of oil till evenly layered. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every 15 minutes, up until soft and lightly caramelized. Dispose of any bits that get charred.

  2. 2.

    Add the brown sugar and vinegar to the pan, stir, and cook 20 minutes more.

  3. 3.

    Stir in the tomatoes and cook for an hour and a half, stirring every 30 minutes. Taste the marmalade: if it still tastes strongly of vinegar, continue cooking up until that flavor mellows.

  4. 4.

    Utilize a slotted spoon to put the tomatoes into a storage container. Alternate spoonfuls of tomato with basil leaves. When all the tomatoes are in the container, tamp them down a bit with the spoon and then pour over cooking liquid just to cover. (I wound up with just a spoonful or two of extra cooking liquid, however my tomatoes were rather juicy themselves, so it didn’t seem to matter.)

  5. 5.

    Cover, let cool to space temperature level, and after that refrigerate for as much as a month. When serving eliminate the basil leaves, which will have turned rather dingy.

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