Are those summer herbs you planted starting to sprout? Or maybe your trip to the farmer’s market was a bit overzealous, and now your refrigerator is bursting with herbs and greens that are going bad faster than you can think up recipes. Enter: herb jam. This Mediterranean dish is one of those under-the-radar recipes that helps you clear out your fridge of unused fresh herbs and leafy vegetables that are on-the-edge, plus plenty of spices to give it a kick. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of dark green leafy veggies like kale, collards, and chard without wasting them and before they go bad.
This recipe is a highly seasoned, incredibly savory spread that can be enjoyed on a toasted pita bread topped with a small sprinkle of feta cheese. Many of the spices in the second half of this recipe are “to taste” and since this is a highly seasoned dish, you should feel free to add as much spice as you’d like!
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Pinch of ground cumin
¼ cup roughly chopped black olives, pitted
Pinch of smoked paprika
Lemon (for serving)
Toasted pita bread
4 T Extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ lbs greens (this can be a mixture of dark, leafy greens like collards, kale, chard plus any fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, basil, dill)
Kitchen cloth or cheese cloth
Take your 1 ½ pounds of washed greens and herbs and place in a large steamer over medium-high heat until tender. This should take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. It took me about 20 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, use a deep skillet and fill about 1 ½ to 2 inches of water. Heat up the pan but keep it on a medium setting. Throw in the greens and herbs straight into the skillet and cover with a lid. Steaming this way will take about 20 minutes.
- Once the greens are steamed, drain the greens, which can be done a couple of different ways. I left my greens in a clean sink in a colander. I had a bunch of other chores to do that day, so I maximized the time it took for the water to drip out and straight into the sink. I would say that this took about 35 minutes.
- I found that leaving in a little bit of moisture gave the jam more flavor and a juicy texture. It also helps when you are cooking the herbs and greens in the skillet for the second part.
- Take out the garlic and peel it. Set it aside to add later.
- Heat up 4 Tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the chili flakes and move them around in the oil rapidly so they don’t burn.
- Add the herbs, a pinch of salt, about half the amount of cumin. Make sure you constantly stir the mixture in the pan as the excess water evaporates. Cook for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- After about 10 – 15 minutes of stirring and evaporating the mixture, turn the heat off but leave the mixture in the pan. Grab the peeled garlic and a fork. Throw the garlic in the pan with the greens and use the fork to mash the garlic. Mix it in. Add the rest of the cumin and add other spices to your taste. Before serving, add a squeeze of lemon. This herb jam can be refrigerated for about five days in a tightly sealed container.
This recipe was inspired by the Moroccan Herb Jam from Paula Wolfert’s book, The Slow Mediterranean.
What’s your favorite fridge-cleaner recipe? Have you tried this Mediterranean style dish? Share it with us in the comments!