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Tomato Jam Roasted Salmon


For my entire childhood, zemirot, or “table hymns” sung on Shabbat, created a lyrical component that enhanced our meals and were an integral part of our tradition. It might sound strange if you’ve never experienced it, but to me breaking out in song between the appetizer and the main course felt as normal as lighting candles on Friday night. Mostly written by kabbalists (Jewish mystics) during the medieval era, zemirot celebrate the otherness and beauty of Shabbat, including its food. One of my favorites, “Ma Yedidut,” written in the tenth century by Menachem Ibn Saruq, is a paean to rest and indulgent meals. “How friendly your rest is, Queen Shabbat, so we run to meet you,” the song goes. “Wearing beautiful clothes, lighting and blessing the candles, all work stops . . . to enjoy delicacies, swans [yes, people ate them back then], quail, and fish.”  

The song inspired this salmon topped with my sweet-and-spicy tomato jam and accompanied by a burst of roasted tomatoes. It creates a centerpiece dish most definitely worth a song.


Prepare the Roasted Salmon

1. Line a large baking sheet with foil; center the salmon on the sheet. In a small bowl, combine one tablespoon of the cumin, the paprika, one teaspoon of the salt, the red pepper flakes black pepper and lemon zest and spread it all over the salmon. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit on the counter for onehour or in the fridge for up to 24 hours; if chilled, remove from fridge one hour before roasting.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven. Spread the tomato jam evenly over the salmon. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, the remaining half teaspoon salt and half teaspoon cumin and gently toss to coat. Arrange the tomatoes around the salmon. Scatter the herb sprigs on top and bake until jam is slightly caramelized and the tomatoes begin to soften, 26 to 27 minutes. Remove from the oven; turn on the broiler. Return to the top third of the oven; broil until the top darkens slightly and the tomatoes burst, two to three minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Prepare the Tomato Jam

I couldn’t resist yet another way to use the bumper crop of tomatoes I always have on hand, and got to thinking about the tomato chutneys in Indian restaurants that I love. I began to play around with this recipe, whose sweetness can adhere to a variety of applications, from lavishing on top of salmon to piling into a little bowl to go alongside some goat cheese and crackers. I have really tried to streamline the number of spice blends in my pantry and find myself returning again and again to baharat, whose warm, sweet, savory, and spicy notes yet again work perfectly. I also suggest this as a spread for challah, especially around Rosh Hashanah, where the confluence of peak tomato season and the custom of serving sweet foods as a symbol of good luck benefits any table. Makes 3 cups

1. In a large (three-quart) heavy saucepan, combine the tomatoes, sugar, three tablespoons of the lemon juice, the turmeric, cumin, salt, Baharat, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, and paprika. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes are thick and jammy, darken in color, and reduce to three cups, 50 minutes to one hour.
2. Remove from the heat, cool for 15 minutes, and stir in the remaining one tablespoon lemon juice and the lemon zest. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in sealed jars for up to one month.


From SHABBAT by Adeena Sussman, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright @ 2023 by Adeena Sussman. Purchase on Amazon.