This Week’s Spontaneous Sauce – Quick Tomato Chile Jam

I’m usually a big fan of frozen fish, but I recently found myself with a bunch of mediocre wild salmon fillets. They didn’t thaw well and had little salmon flavor. In Mastering Sauces, I write about how you need to think creatively and come up with ways to make your food better, rather than settle for something unsatisfying. I decided to follow my own advice and Change the Ratio of Flavorful and Flavorless Components. (Maximize Flavor -Page 38) I spelunked in the fridge for inspiration and decided to make salmon burgers and a good sauce. I chopped the fish and mixed it with a duxelle of sauteed of shallots, garlic, and portabella mushrooms. Then I stirred in lots of freshly blanched, chopped spinach, and some cooked quinoa. I added a couple of eggs to hold it together and seasoned the mix with lots of black pepper and my secret seasoning weapons; nutritional yeast flakes and fish sauce. I kept the flavors pretty neutral, because I knew the burgers were getting a fat dollop of a good, contrasting sauce. And here is it. Some of the finished product disappeared with a plate of cheese and crackers, but a good amount made it onto toasted brioche buns alongside a smear of mayo and hot mustard. I will definitely make it again.


Yield: about 1 cup

1 teaspoon avocado oil or light olive oil

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons Homemade Sriracha Sauce (page 302) or store bought

Pinch of salt


Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium. Add the oil and gradually sauté the onions and garlic, stirring often, until they are soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes with juices, the sugar and the sriracha sauce. Simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, until the liquid has reduced and the juices are thick and sticky, but the sauce remains flowing, about 20 minutes. Watch carefully because the high sugar content makes this sauce prone to burning. Season with salt to taste.

Serve at any temperature. Store covered in the refrigerator for a week or so.


NOTE:  Unlike the recipes published in Mastering Sauces, My Spontaneous Sauce Recipes are quickly jotted down and not meticulously tested. Please make adjustments as you see fit.