For his North African-inspired herb jam, Russ Moore, the chef at Oakland's Camino, uses a wild variety of herbs and greens to give the spread the most complex flavor profile possible—but also uses up all the vegetables in his walk-in fridge and any herbs and vegetables taking over his garden.
Moore suggests using a mixture of sweet greens (spinach or beet tops), stronger greens (carrots tops, fennel tops, wild nettles) and herbs like mint, oregano, cilantro or celery leaves.
He says, "The trick is to use everything in your refrigerator or garden before you have to compost it."
To learn more, read "Russ Moore's Secret Weapon."
Russ Moore's Herb Jam
Recipe from the Camino, Oakland, CA
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 pound of greens, such as Swiss chard, arugula, spinach
1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup packed mint leaves
½ cup packed cilantro leaves
½ cup packed tarragon leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup black olives, such as Nicoise, pitted and roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1. Place the garlic in a large steamer basket that is set over a pot of boiling water; top garlic with the greens and all of the herbs. Cover and steam until the greens and herbs have wilted and the garlic has softened, about 30 minutes. Remove the greens, herbs and garlic and allow to cool. Pick out the garlic and set it aside. Squeeze the greens and herbs dry of any excess water, finely chop and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped greens and herbs to the pan and cook, stirring often to cook most of the moisture out of the greens, about 15 minutes. Adjust the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and olives. Using a wooden spoon, mash the garlic into the green mixture and stir to combine. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove the skillet from heat. Season the herb jam with salt and stir in the remaining olive oil. Transfer the jam to a nonreactive bowl; cover and store in refrgertator for up to 5 days. To serve, mix in the lemon juice and allow the herb jam to come to room temperature.
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