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Last month we promised you a special recipe using preserved lemons. The options for using preserved lemons, we mentioned, are endless. Many recipes you’ll find call for using only the rinsed, preserved rind of the lemon, but the pulp is useful, too – after rinsing it well, chop up the lemon pulp and add to soups, stews, dips, salsas, and hummus. Preserved lemon rind lends more of a floral flavor to dishes, while the pulp uplifts dishes with its refreshing kick of citrus.
Which brings us to this month’s recipe for Spring Greens Jam by Paula Wolfert. Wolfert is considered an authority on Moroccan cuisine. Her books have transported home cooks to North Africa with their authenticity and well-researched methods gathered by Wolfert herself over the years she spent living and working in Morocco. While spring herbs and greens are in season, this is the perfect dip to make now. Choose any mix of greens that you find or are growing yourself. If, for example, you find dandelion greens, definitely use those in your mix. If you don’t find them, use more baby spinach. Wolfert also recommends nettles and purslane.
Why we love this recipe:
Spring greens help support cleansing of the blood and the liver.
The addition of lemon enhances the bioavailability of the iron in the greens.
It’s adaptable: any combination of spring greens works in this recipe.
Spring Greens Jam (Paula Wolfert’s recipe, with minor adaptations)
16 ounces of greens (try any mix of baby spinach, dandelion greens, arugula, beet greens, or Swiss chard)
1-2 big bunches flat-leaf parsley leaves (about 1 cup total)
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (about ½ cup total)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup avocado oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
pulp from ¼ of a preserved lemon
rind from ¼ of a preserved lemon
Optional: 12 oil-cured black olives
1) Stem the greens and herbs and chop coarsely (discard stems).
2) Fill a large pot with a steamer basket and add enough water so that it comes just under the base of the basket.
3) Bring the water in the pot to a boil.
4) In batches, add the greens, garlic cloves, and parsley. As soon as one batch softens, push it to the side with tongs and add more greens.
5) Once all the greens are added, cover the pot, and let them steam until the garlic is soft and the greens have tenderized. This will take about 10-15 minutes total.
6) Set the pot off the heat and remove the steamer basket. Let the contents cool enough to be handled. Then squeeze the greens dry with a hand towel and chop them finely.
7) In a food processor or high-speed blender, pulse the garlic, cilantro, salt, and lemon pulp until a paste forms. Add a tiny bit of avocado oil to help things liquefy.
8) Then, heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil and gently cook the garlic paste with the paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Keep stirring and cooking for about 30 seconds. Add the chopped greens and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes, until all the liquid evaporates.
9) Transfer cooked greens to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add more oil and mash until the jam is smooth and creamy. Cover and store in the fridge for at least an hour and up to four days.
10) Before serving, top with optional black olives and chopped preserved lemon rind. Serve with crackers, flatbread, and a mixture of colorful raw vegetables.
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