Some years ago in our early days as innkeepers here at the Inn at Harbor Hill, we had the pleasure of meeting and hosting a fella by the name of Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. (second cousins once removed from the baseball legend). Chef Joe was/is a renowned chef who has cooked around the world feeding A-listers and running a multi-million dollar restaurant concept company.
Chef Joe is a graduate of the prestigious Le Chateau De Mar Escouffier of France, and was ranked among the Top 25 Chefs in America by The Epicurean Society, with more than 40 National and International Culinary Awards to his credit. Chef Joe was also the founder and Corporate Executive Chef for a specialty food company he created called “Food Innovations”. He was here to provide executive chefs at our local casinos cooking demonstrations and to introduce them to some exciting new food concepts Chef Joe had developed.
Every night when Chef Joe and his wife Joanne returned to the inn for the day, he would bring back samples from the various cooking demonstrations he was doing; marinated artichoke hearts, specialty Italian provisions (delicious cured meats, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers, etc.), steaks, chops and the like. Lucky for us – right! Anyway, one of the foods Chef Joe offered us was something he and his family produced and sold through specialty food distributers called “Tomato Butter”. His tomato butter had a jam like consistency with a deep, glossy, rich red color. It is sweet and tart, perfectly playing on all the attributes of a good tomato.
Chef Joe suggested we serve his tomato butter with our egg strata’s and it became an instant hit here at the inn. However, Chef Joe was also a great marketing person for the food concepts company he was involved with. So, after Chef Joe left us, and we finished the complimentary gallon jug of the tasteful sensation he gave is, we and our guests were hooked on the stuff, and began purchasing this delicious condiment. Well we purchased Chef Joe’s tomato butter for several years until it was no longer available.
So after a few years of not offering tomato butter, we began to research recipes online and began experimenting with different recipes to try and recreate the rich wonderful taste of what Chef Joe’s family had created many years ago. And bi-golly, I think we’ve got it. Try our Tomato Butter on a hamburger, and you may never go back to ketchup again. It is excellent dolloped on a steak or a piece of fish. It makes a wonderful mid-winter BLT and it is an elegant addition to a cheeseboard. One favorite usage is to spread it thick on good bread bought from a local baker, a few thick sliced of creamy brie cheese and some smoky bacon, toasted and pressed. And I warn you, once you start making this, it may become an addiction as it did with us. Enjoy!
Dave’s – Inn at Harbor Hill Marina
Tomato Butter Recipe
42 oz. of Hunt’s “Petite” Diced Tomatos – 1 large (28 oz) can & 1 small (14 oz) can
1 Large Onion diced (~ 1+ Cup)
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients above and stir. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes then reduce heat to a low simmer ensuring the mixture is bubbling. Simmer on low heat until the mixture thickens; normally about 2 and ½ hours (yes, that long). After mixture thickens, let cool completely and store in refrigerator. The mixture should keep for up to 5 days.
The above Tomato Butter is similar to a “Sweet & Spicy” salsa/relish/chutney and adds a “distinctive” addition to our egg strata’s, omelets, burgers, steaks, cheese platters and crostini’s. We even have quests use it as a spread on toasts and bagels. We hope you try this, and please let us know what you think. Enjoy!!!