Paula Wolfert's Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon

By • October 27, 2011 9 Comments

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Author Notes: A genius recipe that brings new life to the herbs and greens that linger in the crisper, adapted slightly from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen (Wiley, 2003) by Paula Wolfert.Genius Recipes

Serves 6; makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 4 large cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 pound baby spinach leaves
  • 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, stemmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oil-cured black olives, pitted, rinsed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Spanish sweet smoked paprika (pimenton de la Vera)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Put the garlic cloves in a large steamer basket set over a pan of simmering water and top with the spinach, parsley, celery, and cilantro. Cover and steam until the garlic is soft and the greens are very tender, about 15 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze the greens dry, finely chop, and set aside. Using the back of a fork, mash the garlic cloves.
  2. In a medium cazuela set over a flame-tamer or in a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the mashed garlic, olives, paprika, cayenne, and cumin and stir over moderately high heat for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the greens and cook, mashing and stirring, until soft and dry and somewhat smooth, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Mash in the remaining olive oil. Refrigerate, closely covered, for at least 1 day and up to 4 days.
  4. To serve, return to room temperature. Stir in the lemon juice and, if it seems too thick, thin to a spreadable consistency with water or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pack in a serving dish and serve with crackers or semolina bread.

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Comments (9) Questions (0)


about 2 years ago walkie74

What's a substitute for sweet smoked paprika? And will curly parsley work?


about 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Curly parsley would be fine -- this is a good use for any herbs you have lingering. Smoked paprika is tricker -- try regular paprika and/or a ground smoky chile like ancho or chipotle? (Those will all add spice too, so beware.)


over 2 years ago Andrea Eisen

Can this recipe be canned and saved? I am in the midst of growing season in Florida and this sounds like a perfect accompaniment to the tomato preserves and sauce I have already canned.


over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I don't think there's enough acid in this to safely water-bath can it, but maybe a pressure canner could work -- you could try asking the Hotline:

Alternately, I think this would freeze well!


almost 3 years ago Esabrams

This was a great recipe for us. We didn't have any parsley and used mint instead. It worked great. This is a pretty forgiving recipe, and while dill might be a bit much, there's a fair amount of flex.


over 3 years ago Cookie16

There's a lot of places to put it, but I'm also thinking not here. Too many strong flavors are going on I'm thinking. The may compliment each other now, but maybe not with the addition of another.

Dill is my obsession, I love it so much. Mix it with cream cheese, throw it on a cucumber sandwich, infuse alcohol, or sprinkle some chopped on a nice open-faced, sunny-side up egg sandwich with a bright slice of tomato. Mix it into butter and slather it on a bit on a piece of crusty bread with a sprinkle of salt. I think I'll go create a dill blog now!


almost 4 years ago goodie

my most usual left over herb is dill. do you think it would go here. too much could be overwhelming i think. any other ideas for left over dill?


almost 4 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

I think some dill would work in this, but you're right -- too much would get a little intense. I bet leftover dill would be a nice thing to infuse into vodka -- maybe with cucumber?


about 2 years ago just plain Ben

Wouldn't drinking dill-and-cucumber-infused vodka be a good way to get pickled? Hardeharhar