Say the word jam, and I usually take a moment’s pause. Jam means fruit, and summer, and hot buttered sourdough toast. But more than anything, I usually associate jam with time, because making it – between the chopping and stirring and mothering and jarring – requires a luxury of hours that doesn’t pass by my calendar all that often.
This jam, though. It’s a caramelized rhubarb jam. It’s roasted, not simmered, and it’s really too quick to require a true recipe. Mix four pounds of chopped rhubarb with a cup of sugar, the juice of a lemon, and a split vanilla bean, and roast it at 350 degrees for two hours or so, stirring just once. The stalks will collapse as the sugar caramelizes, creating a rich panful of brick-colored jam – a good-sized jar for home and two jars for sharing – that’s as at home on a slice of toast as it is snuggled next to a smear of peanut butter.
Of course, if you eat it with a spoon, I won’t tell. I’ll just ask for another spoon.