Calling Cape Verde Collect.
It’s been a while since I’ve hit your inboxes. I’ve been trying to keep afloat with many obligations in the last few weeks such as finishing out the Substack Food Intensive, wrapping up my role on the set of Taste the Nation, ending my cooking classes with some kiddos before their summer vacations started, and also just trying to be a present wife/dog mom/family member/friend/writer/blah blah blah/[insert next thing here].
Since I was at my max capacity of ALL. THE. THINGS. I decided I didn’t want to make a super extensive recipe for the next Eating A-Z in NYC. I originally had a recipe for a hearty stew, but it’s like 85+ degrees every day in NYC and I have zero excitement about simmering a hot stew for 2.5 hours on my stovetop. So I’m going to give myself some grace and phone it in for this one (promise this is the only time I ever have thus far!).
Here’s the scoop: Cape Verde is a tropical archipelago off the coast of Africa. It was actually an uninhabited island until the 15th century when it was colonized by the Portuguese. It was one of the center points for the Atlantic Slave Trade, which made it a financially prosperous place to be during the height of the AST. Cape Verde lost a lot of its financial footing once the slave trade was quelled. It did make a come back as an important port for shipping and gained its independence from Portugal in 1975.
Cape Verdean cuisine is a mix of Portuguese + African flavors that are heavy on seafood dishes and hearty stews. As I said before I wanted to phone this recipe in so I made the easiest dish I could find and that was papaya marmalade and goat cheese. This snack is a favorite amongst Cape Verdeans and I have a weakness for soft cheeses and jams so it was meant to be.
This marmalade might be one of my favorite new things. It does require a little bit of effort on your part to stand around and stir for a bit, but it is so worthwhile. Papaya marmalade is a tropical paradise in every bite. It’s thick and sweet with a hint of floralness (is that even a word?). Basically, it tastes amazing and goes well with soft cheeses, hard cheeses, and should also maybe be eaten with something coconutty. Perhaps drizzled on coconut ice cream?
2 lb. papaya, peeled, deseeded, and mashed (with a fork or food processor)
2 ½ cups sugar
Juice of 3 limes
Clean sterilized glass jars for storage
In a medium saucepan over medium to low heat cook down papaya, sugar, and lime juice. Stir occasionally as you watch the papaya mixture reduce and bubble for about 15-20 minutes.
You want the mixture to lose most of its water so that it can thicken up. Once the marmalade starts to reduce crank the heat up to high and let it boil for 5-7 minutes while stirring continuously.
The marmalade should be able to coat the back of a spoon without sliding off. Let it cool in the saucepan for 2-3 minutes before pouring it into jars. Leave jars open and allow the marmalade to completely cool before lidding.
Let me know if you decide to try this recipe!
Cook. Eat. Repeat.