Please Pass the Parsley!
This week we want to tell you a bit about a key ingredient in many of our summer sauces: parsley. It’s not something we think about much in this country; usually it is found as a garnish on a dish, set to the side, and never eaten. But parsley has so much more to offer than just decoration. It’s unique flavor profile, and nutritional properties make it a great addition to many dishes. And because it is easy to grow in a home garden, it is easy to come by and cheaply! So get out those parsley seeds and plant them in your window box today. Come and cook with us!
Parsley has been part of the culinary world for centuries. Greeks wore parsley crowns at banquets to stimulate their appetite, and Romans nibbled on the herb in the hopes of avoiding drunkenness (while drinking more and more wine). We’re not so sure this method worked… parsley is, however, known primarily for its detoxifying and deodorizing properties. It is packed with chlorophyll, which studies show has the ability to purify and rejuvenate, it stops bacterial growth in wounds (though we’d consult the doctor before packing parsley into an open wound), it builds blood, renews tissues and counteracts inflammation. Additionally parsley has a high concentration of eye-protective carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin K, which may reduce the risk of bone fractures.
Parsley is a great base for many recipes, some of which we have listed below. If you need some inspiration check out our chimichurri! But, these aren’t the only ways that parsley can be enjoyed. Try some in your juice this summer — like a refreshing drink of carrots, celery and parsley, or add it to just about any green drink you are whipping up. You can even add it to a fresh salad for a surprising kick. Or, follow the advice of my dear Aunt Rosemarie, who opened a can of chickpeas, rinsed them, added some olive oil, lemon, a minced piece of garlic and lots of fresh chopped parsley, then baked it for 20 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring at the halfway point. Sometimes she even mashed the chickpeas with a fork. Delicious. We’ve also included two simple recipes that take parsley as the star flavor. Come and cook with us!
I first tried this dish when I was living in London. My South African friend Philip decided to introduce this little Italian girl to Lebanese food and I was hooked. You’d think that there wouldn’t be many differences in our food given that we border the same Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing like Tabbouleh in Italy, at least not where I’m from, unfortunately for me. It took until I was in my mid-twenties to add this dish to my repertoire. This salad is great for any summer buffet and can be easily made Gluten-Free using cooked quinoa instead of the traditional bulgur. This recipe is adapted from the Gourmet cookbook.
1/2 cup fine bulgur or quinoa
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (leaves, not stems)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- Stir together bulgur and 1 tablespoon oil in a heat-proof bowl.
- Pour 1 cup boiling water over bulgur, then cover bowl tightly with a well-sealing lid and let stand for 15 minutes or cook the quinoa until tender.
- Drain grain in a sieve, pressing on it to remove excess liquid.
- Transfer grain to a bowl and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and remaining ingredients until well combined.
- Adjust taste with salt and pepper.
John Dossey’s Favorite Green Rice
Earlier this year my husband’s grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 97. She was a bright, industrious woman with lots of verve, who kept up her crossword puzzles and political reading (almost) until the end. She was also a great cook, and this recipe was introduced to me as my father-in-law’s favorite dish as a child. I am looking forward to making him my rendition the next time I see him. Come and cook with us!
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup uncooked rice (long grain white or brown)
1/4 cup minced green pepper
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 cup vegetable stock (if you use brown rice, add an additional cup of stock)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Cook onions in oil till soft but not brown.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir.
- Pour into baking dish and cover.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (45 minutes if using brown rice), or until the rice is tender.
- Toss lightly with a fork before serving.
Four years ago my father took a fishing trip to Mexico where some fine cook served him this sauce and forever changed my father’s life. He brought the recipe home and prepares it regularly with all of his fish dishes and then some!
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of fresh minced flat-leaf parsley
Juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons fresh minced basil, thyme and oregano
1 small shallot, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
Splash of red wine vinegar
Hot red chili flakes
- Whisk together parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, shallot and garlic.
- Finish the sauce with a splash of red wine vinegar and adjust taste with chili flakes.
- Let stand for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend.
For more recipes and photos, visit Come and Cook With Us.