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Eating out in Asheville, NC: Dinner at The Market Place PLUS Recipe for Tomato Jam

Welcome to another "Eating out in Asheville, NC" post! Hope you are enjoying vicariously traveling to Asheville through reading my posts and looking at the photographs. If you've read the super long title of this blog post, you know that in the end I'll share a recipe for tomato jam...but you have to wait a while ;)

My first official meal in Asheville was at the Market Place Restaurant & Lounge.

From their website:

"We believe in the importance of working locally, not just using ingredients from our surrounding area, but also in our contribution to the community. The success of our restaurant has always been closely entwined with the health and progress of our community. For 30 years we have supported the arts, local-needs and education programs."

I decided to sit at the bar: this is NOT something I'm really good at. For some reason, bartenders don't chat me up. The same thing happens when I'm getting a haircut. I guess I don't look super friendly {shocker!}. I wish I would have brought a book. Oh well. I took my time looking at the menu, the dark yet inviting decor, and was happy to have live music in the background.

Patrick Fitzsimons
I started with a glass of local beer (sorry, can't remember the name), and also ordered two appetizers: corn cake with salsa and fried calamari & shrimp. I really liked both appetizers, but the salsa that came with the corn cake was somewhat bitter. I shared my thoughts with the bartender, and he said that the chef will come over and see if he could offer me something else.

That's when I met William Dissen. He offered me tomato jam and sweet chile sauce: I thought they were both incredible and asked William to share his recipe for tomato jam: and he did!!

I finished my meal and really liked how the check was presented: in a jar! I could not wait to get home and recreate the tomato jam in my own kitchen.

Tomato Jam
Recipe by William Dissen of Market Place Restaurant & Lounge
{I slightly rewrote the recipe to fit my format, but the ingredients and basic directions are the same}

1.5 pounds Roma tomatoes, pitted and chopped {I chopped mine in half, then sliced each half into three pieces and then each of those pieces into thirds again}
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme {my grocery store did not have fresh thyme, so I used 1 teaspoon of dry thyme}


1. In a small pot, combine all ingredients, other than thyme, and bring to a simmer.

2. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes a consistency of a thick jam. This will take about an hour.

3. Stir in thyme and adjust for salt and pepper if necessary.

4. Allow the jam to cool and refrigerate.

This was an incredibly simple recipe to make, yet the flavors are vibrant and strong. I should have doubled the recipe, because two days later there is almost nothing of the jam left. I ate it with crackers and also mixed it with Greek yogurt and some cilantro and red onions for breakfast.

Thank you, William, for sharing this recipe with me and my readers.

PS: I've created a Mango & Tomato Facebook Page: if you don't follow me on Twitter, this would be a great way to get updates ;)


Velva said...

Loved it all-the tomato jam really looks amazing. The photos really allow the colors of the jam to pop.


Delicious Dishings said...

That jam looks amazing. I've been seeing tomato jam a lot lately and really want to make some to spread on grilled cheese sandwiches!

Elizabeth @Mango_Queen said...

The jam looks so amazing! Love your photos. I must try this recipe. Thanks for sharing these and the stories about Asheville!

Cecilia said...

I can't believe he shared his recipe! It looks great and love the deep red color! My last attempt at tomato jam was a complete fail, I may have to try this recipe!

Amber DeGrace said...

YUM. Thanks for sharing this! I'll definitely make it soon.