The Herby Condiment to Wake Up Your Week's Meals

May  9, 2016

Paula Wolfert's Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon is one of the smartest recipes you will ever learn (Genius, even).

In less than a half hour and just a few simple steps, you’ll dig to the bottom of your crisper, clear out all the orphaned, half-wilty herbs and greens hiding in there, and come out the other side with a condiment that is nothing short of a flavor powerhouse.

Simply steam your greens with garlic, sauté with olives and spices, and smoosh everything together until it's the consistency of jam.

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The result is so good that you may just want to dig in with a spoon crackers or toast and call it a day (and hey, no one will fault you for that). But make a big batch to keep around for a few days, and use this new, wonder condiment to create a whole mess of more flavorful meals. Here's how:

On Sunday, cook up some of these things:

  • A big batch of Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon. The recipe calls for parsley, cilantro, and celery leaves, but think of this as more of a guide than a set instruction; feel free to make the most of whatever herbs you may have on hand or feel otherwise inclined to include.
  • A pie crust and/or pizza dough
  • A pot of white beans or chickpeas
  • Some couscous

And stock up on some of these goods to get through the week:

  • Flour, butter, and eggs
  • Bread, for sandwiches, breadcrumbs, and general serving
  • Your favorite cheeses
  • Assorted deli meats or other sandwich toppings
  • New, fresh, leafy greens
  • Basically any protein (yes, even tofu!)
  • Pasta and/or risotto rice
  • Ground meat (perhaps turkey or beef)

Now feed yourself a whole set of more flavorful meals:

  • Mix your herb jam into a pot of couscous with some vegetables and cheese (sort of like this).
  • Toss it with pasta and white beans in lieu of sauce, or use it like a pesto as an alternative pizza topping.
  • Spoon it over gently cooked fish or smear onto the chicken you're about to roast. Try not to happy dance too much while you're eating.
  • Up your sandwich game: garnish a classic turkey club, slather on a toasted hard roll topped with roast beef, or make a new vegetarian favorite by topping sandwiches of mashed chickpeas, thinly shaved fennel, sliced hard boiled eggs, and fontina. Or mix with mayo and use the combo to make a grilled cheese (trust me!).
  • Fold it into soft scrambled eggs or use your pie dough to bake your herb jam into your next quiche.
  • Mix with breadcrumbs, egg, and ground meat to make into meatballs or a zesty take on meatloaf.
  • Use the jam to garnish a simple spring soup or risotto dish.
  • Incorporate it into your potato or egg salad and bring it along on your next picnic.
  • Stir into assorted dips or soft cheeses to give them an herby makeover. Better yet—combine with butter to create a compound butter (like the one in this recipe) that would be a flavorful accompaniment to any meaty main.
  • Bake it into a savory bread (like this!!), or incorporate into biscuits as you would do with cheese.
  • Pulse together with breadcrumbs and use this mixture to dredge chicken, tofu, or pork you plan to pan-fry.
  • Thin your herb jam with more oil and vinegar and use it to make a vinaigrette—dress all of the salads and use this as an excuse to use up any leftover proteins or vegetables from the past few days.

What's your favorite herb? (Mine's thyme!) Let us know in the comments!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Sarah E Daniels

Written by: Sarah E Daniels

It's mostly a matter of yeast.