I love bread and topping it with a variety of cheeses, meats, and vegetables is a match made in heaven. I love toasted bread with butter and fruit jelly, a yummy sweet snack for breakfast or dessert. Savory Crostini are very popular; toasted Italian bread topped with tomato bruschetta or olive tapenade accompanied by a glass of red wine, make a scrumptious appetizer. However a sweet crostini topped with a rustic fresh strawberry jam takes your taste buds to another level. On my recent trip to the Collingwood Farmer’s Market I was drawn to the beautiful loaves of bread popping out of the basket being sold by Villa Barone. Gazing at the large, slightly charred loaves brought many recipe ideas to mind and so I made my first purchase. I continued to stroll through the market with the aroma of the bread reminding me of its existence in my bag. I made several purchases of fresh vegetables at Flaim Farms and my final purchase of strawberries at Springdale Farms. Then it was time to head home; my stomach growling with hunger. Those beautiful red ripe strawberries where going to be a delicious rustic jam that would crown my slice of toasted bread smeared with a Vermont Maple Syrup butter. Let the yumminess begin!
Rustic Strawberry Jam
1 quart fresh Jersey strawberries washed, cleaned and sliced in half
1/3 cup Vermont maple syrup (you could use Jersey honey from Wools Edge Farms) I love the taste of the maple syrup
zest of a half of lemon
2 tablespoons of water
pinch of coarse salt
Place all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook about 25 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cool. The extra jam can be stored in a container in the fridge.
Maple Syrup Butter
1 stick of butter unsalted and preferably grass fed (Kerrygold is readily available) at room temperature (soft)
2 tablespoons of Vermont Maple Syrup (again you could use honey instead but, I love the maple syrup butter and it is great on waffles or pancakes)
In a small mixing bowl combine the butter and maple syrup. The maple butter can be stored in a container in the fridge for future use.
Slice the bread into thick slices, place on a baking sheet and toast in the oven under the broiler until a light golden brown. I like one side toasted and one side soft however you can toast both sides if you prefer.
To assemble spread the maple butter on the warm toasted bread and then top with the strawberry jam. Open your mouth wide, take a bite and let your taste buds do the happy dance!