Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bergamot Marmalade


I have never been an avid maker of jam. Or I should say my habit of winging it has resulted in a lot of runny flops. Or worse, so many jars that I couldn't give them away - the year I made concord grape jelly from a huge stockpot full of fruit. And then there's the whole canning jar business, pain in the neck.

But this time it was as if the fruit and I were meant for each other. I have to admit I have never set eyes on a Bergamot orange. I was in San Francisco and went to visit Rachel and her new husband and we all made a brief foray to Bi-Rite and there they were, like little round unassuming lemons. But the aroma, indeed Earl Grey. Heady.

So armed with nothing but a knife, a peeler and a pot, I peeled two specimens and julienned the strips finely. Then removed all the white pith and chopped the flesh, tiny pits and all. (The source of pectin, I think.) Then added about 4 or 5 tablespoons of sugar. This is to taste, and I like it bitter. Some water. Cooked it for about half an hour or a bit longer on high heat. When it was thick, poured it into a glass. Simple enough. On toasted ciabbata, a bit of butter from Isigny, a sprinkle of Spanish sea salt, and a good dollop of this marmalade, utterly magnificent.

11 comments:

Jeremy said...

That sounds lovely. I'm partial to a good bitter marmalade myself.
Sunday night I made an orange marmalade suet pudding that was spectacular - I bet it would work well with bergamot too.
Hmm. I might have to trundle over to Buy-Rite and see if they're still in stock.

Ken Albala said...

Jeremy, There was a big box of bergamots there yesterday. But where, pray tell, do you find suet?

Jeremy said...

I went to Golden Gate Meats at the Ferry Building; any good butcher should have some.

Olive Oil said...

I'm glad you put those bergamots to good use. I may try another round of marmalade and follow your lead using less sugar. I also want to try making bergamot curd.

Kristine said...

OK, I will try marmalade again too. I have apparently NEVER had a properly bitter version. "Cloyingly sweet" is what I think about when I hear the word. I happen to have an affection for the methodical process of canning--Thanks, Mom...

Saffron Paisley said...

Did you just say 'big box of bergamots'? And why didn't you share?

Ken Albala said...

Nope, not a box, just three bergamots, bon mots, mots propre. I'm wishing I bought a box. They taste kind of weird on their own, the magic comes out in cooking, and tea, of course. I think I'm going the candy the peel of the last one. Or maybe salt it down. The funniest thing is I looked at this cookbook of mine today and my co-author Rosanna has a recipe for marmalade with bergamots! And I think she actually used to work at the Bi-Rite too. Strange confulence of planets.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

in greece we often refer to the bergamot as a sweet lemon and we call it pergamonto - it's always a hit in marmalade making, and it's also on sale at this time of the year

kryssie's daily photo said...

Bergamot has always been one of my favorite aromas next to Grapefruit. I always wondered what you can do with them beside using the oil for Earl Grey tea. I don't think I've ever seen them in the stores here in Jersey.

Peter Hertzmann said...

A drop or two—the stuff is quite strong—of bergamot oil can add a fantastic aroma and a faint, pleasant taste to many dishes. I learned the tip at one of the restaurants I worked in in France. When I came back home I couldn't find a food-grade version so I chose one developed for aroma therapy that was produced by pressing rather than chemical extraction. The little vial cost more than $10 but using the built-in eye dropper has meant that I've yet to finish my first one.

exotic shoes said...

What is that?? But Loo so tasty.