So fresh and so clean, parsley has a wonderful flavour, it brings a strong, zesty base and contrast to liven up a variety of dishes. It is one of the most prolific of all the herbs, finding its way into classic and contemporary dishes worldwide.
It took me years to accept parsley. It was the haute garnish in the 90’s. Pfft. SO passe. Now days I love it. Parsley’s versatility means it can finish a hearty stew or fill out the flavour of a light, fresh dressing. My potatoes look nude without a dusting of the ol’ herb now that I’ve gotten over my parsley prejudice.
We’re familiar with the flat leaf or curly variety, but did you know there is a variety grown specifically for its roots? Hamburg parsley is used as a veggie in stocks and stews.
Parsley belongs to the Umbelliferae family and is cuzzies with cumin, carrots, coriander and celery. Its name comes from the Greek word petroselinon, meaning rock celery, because it thrives on rocky terrain.
Originating in the Mediterranean, it became popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, when it was commonly grown in monasteries and royal gardens. The Greeks made crowns of parsley to bestow upon the winners of the Nemena and Isthmian sports games, in the same manner that bay wreaths honour the Olympians. It was also laid as wreaths on tombs. The Greeks also associated Achromous (THe herald of death, no less) with parsley, which grew where the blood of the Greek hero spilled when he was eaten by serpents… No wonder it’s found between lamb chops at your local butcher, it has a bloody history!
Parsley is another green with formidable health fortitude, but I have a strong suspicion you’d need to be eating it by the pound rather than by the chef sprinkle to get the benefits. The vit K helps blood to clot and contributes to bone health. It is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. Parsley can help boost the immune system, and serve as a natural antibiotic. It also contains Vit A, folate and iron and flavonoids.
To store: For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with 2cm of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with a bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To prep: Chop the leaves and stem before cooking. The stem can be used to flavour soups and stews too.
To freeze: Chop parsley finely and freeze in ice cube trays with water. Pop out frozen cubes and freeze in a freezer bag
Traditional Parsley dishes
*English parsley sauce
*Gremolata, salsa verde (Italian)
*Chimichurri (South American)
*Osso Bucco (Italian)
*Bearnaise sauce, beurre maitre d'hotel (parsley butter) fines herbs, persillade… All French