Our Smoked Paprika Tomato + Basil Jam was created a few years back when I was looking for an updated way to glaze meat loaf. When I was growing up my mom made meat loaf often and she would always add ketchup to the top of it before baking it to create a sweet burnt tomato sauce over it. When I got older and lived on my own I'd find myself craving meat loaf as a comfort food, but my palette had changed and I wanted a meat loaf that reflected that. I thought maybe jam was the trick, along with adding other ingredients into the meat.
My Aunt Mae's tomato jam was the first that I had ever eaten. I grew up on it and it's cross between sweet and savory with hints of cinnamon and clove were equally comforting to me. It was delicious, but when I sat down to create my own rendition of it I ended up adding smoked paprika, grated ginger, and some fresh basil to it. Those flavors add a warm, earthy and aromatic depth to the jam!
Since it's creation, after trying it on meat loaf, I have been using this jam in so many ways I couldn't even begin to count. This recipe I'm featuring now is pretty darn easy to make and it's a great way to use eggplant, which I love but sometimes have a hard time coming up with ways to cook.
1 or 2 Small Eggplants trimmed and cut length wise
A french baguette loaf
Fontina Cheese cut thinly into slices
Salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
I used my Lodge cast iron reversible grill / griddle on my gas top stove and heated it up pretty hot, flames on medium / a little bit high. While it was heating up I took the eggplant that I had cleaned and sliced length wise and I sprinkled them with salt, pepper and chili flakes. Once the grill was hot I used the stick of butter I had and I spread it all over the grill. Then I laid two pieces of sliced bread and the eggplant down onto the grill. I couldn't say how long to cook them on either side, I always keep my eyes on the grill and check often to see when I've reached the desired grill mark / cooked through ratio. The bread was the first to toast up so I took it off around the time I flipped the eggplant over.
Then I added the slices of fontina cheese onto the eggplant to melt down. While the other side was grilling up and the cheese was melting, I took about a tablespoon of Smoked Paprika Tomato + Basil Jam and spread it over the toasts. Once the eggplant was done cooking and the cheese was melted I used a spatula to add them to the tops of the toast! I topped it with arugula and one last dollop of jam.
Next...we ate the hell out of it. It's sweet, woody, crunchy, green, cheesy! All the things I love! Give it a try! If you do, make sure you send us pics! #theurbancanningco on Instagram so we can see. Cheers!
You can find our Smoked Paprika Tomato + Basil Jam online and in our tasting room! If you've had a chance to pick it up before we'd love to see how you're using it! Use hashtag #theurbancanningco and find us on Instagram @theurbancanningco. To see a list of our markets and events head over to our Markets + Events page! Our kitchen and tasting room is located at 1040 4 Street N in St. Petersburg, Florida. Cheers!