Matbucha is a kind of tomato jam of Moroccan origin which is popular in Israel. I made a batch as an ingredient for a shakshuka focaccia, which I made for lunch yesterday. Everyone’s initial reaction was that it was delicious, and their second reaction was that it was too salty. Accordingly, below I have reduced the salt from 4 tsp. to 2 tsp., which may turn out to be too little. It will depend on the salt content of whatever else it is being eaten with. This simple version of matbucha is adapted from Uri Scheft’s book Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking. There are more elaborate versions with bell peppers and onions, but this simple version really brings out the flavor of caramelized tomatoes.
12 Roma tomatoes
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 serrano or jalapeno chili, chopped
6 cloves garlic, slivered
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. sugar
The first step is to peel the Roma tomatoes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and have a bowl of cold water nearby. Cut a cross in the tip of the tomatoes and drop them in the hot water for 1-2 minutes to loosen the skins. With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the bowl of cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes and chop them into ½ inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and chili and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, salt, and sugar, and stir well. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes have a jammy consistency.