Saturday, December 30, 2006

Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon

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

Serve with crackers or semolina bread (I made the delicious, and simple! semolina griddle breads to go with the herb jam) --The recipe can be found on page 41 of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen.

Put the garlic in a large steamer basket set over a pan of simmering
water and top with spinach, parsley, celery, and cilantro. Cover and steam until the garlic is soft and the greens 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.

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.

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.
To serve, return to room temperature. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Pack in a serving dish and serve with crackers of semolina bread.
Serves 6; Makes about 1 1/2 cups