One of my favorite new cookbooks this year is Preserving Italy by Domenica Marchetti. It is the only Italian canning and preserving cookbook written in English that I’ve found. I have some Italian language cookbooks that deal with canning and preserving, but this one is written in English and is specific to canning and preserving. I plan to write a comprehensive cookbook review next week as we have family visiting us here in Umbria now and my time is limited, but I will tell you that this cookbook is a keeper!
I’ve tried a couple of recipes from this book this summer, but my favorite hands down has been this Tropea Onion Jam. I serve this jam alongside a wedge of Gorgonzola Dolce cheese and some crusty Italy bread and everyone raves about the flavor combination.
I made a double batch back in July, and most of it is already gone so I’ll have to make more soon. I have a few jams and preserves that I make each and every summer for our guests here in Umbria, and this jam will certainly be added to my list for future canning.
The recipe calls for Tropea onions, which are an amazing sweet onion from Calabria, but if you cannot find Tropea onions, Domenica suggests using any firm, young red onion. The recipe calls for Sangiovese or another full-bodied red wine, and I used Sagrantino, which is Umbria’s best known full bodied red.
You might be tempted to leave out the spices but although the flavor is subtle, they do add a lovely complexity to this jam so I would recommend using them.
This jam is wonderful served with aged cheese, fresh creamy cheese such as Brie, and as I suggest above, a nice creamy Gorgonzola Dolce. Although I have yet to try it, Domenica suggests using this jam on burgers with blue cheese which also sounds heavenly. If any of the jars fail to seal properly, simply store them in the refrigerator and use these jars first.
- 1 Pound Tropea Onions Cut Into Small Dice (See Notes Above)
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Full-Bodied Red Wine
- 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 10 Whole Peppercorns
- 1 Whole Clove
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1-inch Piece Vanilla Bean
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- Combine the onions, sugar, wine, and side in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
- Create a sachet using cheesecloth to hold the peppercorns, clove, bay leaf, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick, and tie securely with kitchen string.
- Add the sachet to the pot and continue to cook over medium high heat until the mixture reaches 225 degrees F., or until the mixture thickens.
- Add the vinegar to the jam and stir.
- Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims with a warm, clean cloth and secure the lids firmly.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath that covers the lids by 1-inch for 10 minutes.
- Remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Store in a cool dark place before using.