A word about herb jam

I first learned to make herb jam at Chez Panisse.  A recipe for this lemony herb and greens based condiment can be found in Paula Wolfert’s  Slow Mediterranean Kitchen.  Basically, you steam a combination of greens and herbs for 20 minutes, squeeze the moisture from them, then slowly sizzle-fry them in a good amount of oil with a bit of smoky paprika, cumin and hot pepper.  The herb jam is then finished with fresh lemon juice and chopped black oil-cured olives.

I’ve not looked at the original recipe for at least six years. Over the last year and a half, my adaptations have evolved to include anything I’ve saved in my refrigerator.  This last batch was made with celery, chard stems, wild fennel, carrot tops and outer leaves of romaine, butter lettuce and radicchio.  In the past, various quantities of dill and tarragon have also made their way into the steamer with great success.  Though those herbs can, at times, be hauntingly intense, their flavors are more than welcome in the mix.

10 January 2012

handmade whole grain crackers with ajwain, poppy and sesame seeds

shaved fennel and arugula salad, herb jam, parsnip puree with sumac and za’atar

spiced lamb and potato meatballs with chickpeas, garden greens, carrots, cauliflower romanesco and charmoula

a baked apple stuffed with dates, raisins, figs and walnuts with sour cream-whipped cream and honey

Special thanks to Loida, Branka and Neil for making last night’s dinner for 19 a success!

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