Parsley is not just a garnish!
This leafy herb is vibrant enough to add colour and panache to
many a plate, but it's the delicate flavour of the herb that truly
deserves to be noticed. For many years, Middle Eastern, European
and Mediterranean cultures have explored the flavourful intricacies
of the parsley plant. North Americans are just starting to follow
suit, and not a moment too soon.
Where to Get It
There are many botanical varieties of parsley, which can be
divided into two sub-categories: flat-leafed and curly.
Curly-leafed parsley is more common in North America and is also
more likely to be used as a garnish because it stays fresh for
longer than its flat-leafed relative and has a very light taste.
Flat-leafed parsley, also often referred to as Italian parsley, is
much more flavourful and should generally be sought out when
parsley is called for in a recipe. Hamburg parsley, or soup
parsley, is another fairly popular variety of the herb. This type
of parsley resembles a root vegetable, and the leaves and root can
be sliced into salads and other vegetable dishes. It is generally
too bitter to heat. Chinese parsley should not be confused with
standard parsley, as it's actually cilantro.
When purchasing fresh parsley, look for stems with leaves that
are bright green and uniform in colour. Wilting or yellowing are
signs of age, so avoid purchasing parsley with blemished leaves.
Parsley can be stored loosely wrapped in a damp cloth or paper
towel and refrigerated for up to a week. The abundant leaves of
parsley often trap dirt, so be sure to wash them thoroughly right
before use. Dried parsley lacks almost all of the delicate flavour
of its fresh counterpart, but it can be purchased at most markets
and stored in airtight containers for up to six months.
How to Use It
The fresh flavour of parsley goes with nearly any type of food,
from salads to grilled meat. Parsley is often used in pasta sauces,
stews, soups, casseroles and bean dishes. It goes well with fish
and shellfish and is a good addition to a variety of sauces, too.
Parsley lends itself well to spice mixes, such as bouquet garni and
fines herbes, and features prominently in Middle Eastern dishes
such as taboulleh and grilled lamb. If using parsley as a garnish,
get creative and drum up persillade, a mixture of chopped garlic
and chopped fresh parsley, or gremolata, a combination of parsley,
garlic and lemon zest. Both of these preparations are perfect to
top fresh salads, vegetables or meat dishes.
Try it today:
*Parmesan, Parsley and Pea
*Garlic and Parsley Soup
*Grilled Asparagus with Parsley
*Lamb and Fig Kebobs