Jess’s Spicy-Sweet Roasted Tomato Sauce

In my opinion, most great cooking begins organically. (I do mean that literally as well as figuratively.) Yesterday, whilst walking down Wilton Road from Sainsbury’s back to Jess’s flat in the sparkling autumnal sunshine (it is August, people!), Jess suddenly gestured to her right towards a Turkish restaurant and said, “That place makes the most amazing tomato sauce.” And thus was born the idea to make a sweet tomato sauce to accompany our Caribbean meal.

More salsa than jam, this is a delicious, rustic (i.e., skins and seeds not removed from tomatoes), sweet-spicy-tangy sauce with an identity crisis. Like a prom queen after a break-up, it is not finicky about who it will pair with. So serve it as a condiment with almost any meal, or in a bowl as a starter to dunk toasted flatbread or tortilla chips.


3 large or 4-5 medium ripe sweet tomatoes, cored

1 small or ½ large sweet white onion, cut in chunks

4-5 small sweet peppers, such as baby bell, Anaheim, or Italian

1 whole moderately spicy chile pepper, such as jalapeno, Serrano, or Fresno

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup dark cane syrup, or black treacle

Juice of ½ lemon

1 t grated fresh ginger

¼ cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, picked from stems


Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius (about 425 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put your veggies in a baking tray large enough to fit all of them in a single layer, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast uncovered on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes have started to wrinkle and shrink like little prunes and all the veggies have attained a nice charred dark brown colour.

Remove the seeds from the roasted peppers, and transfer all ingredients to a bowl or to your food processor. Add the fresh coriander, and purée until smooth. (We used an immersion blender.)

Stir in the cane syrup, ginger, and lemon juice, and adjust seasonings to taste. Makes approximately two cups of sauce. Will last up to one week in the fridge.

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