Sunday, 8 March 2009

In praise of parsley

Parsley is probably the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning "rock celery" and, indeed, carries a hint of celery in its taste as well as dill and mineral flavours and a slight sweetness. In the kitchen it is first and foremost a garnish but it is also highly nutritious.

The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat-leaf parsley. The Italian saw-toothed leaf has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the crispy, tightly bunched curly variety. There is also a third type of parsley known as parsnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock.

Combine chopped parsley with bulgur wheat, finely sliced green onions (scallions), mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make the Middle Eastern classic dish, tabbouleh.

Use parsley, combined with garlic, orange and lemon zest, to make herby sauces such as salsa verde or gremolata as a marinade or dip for chicken, lamb and beef or to finish grilled fish dishes.
Serve a bright salad of fennel, blood orange, vine tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves.

Good old parsley sauce is a “comfort blanket” made for gammon and salmon fishcakes and there’s just as much flavour in the stalk as in the leaf.

1 comment:

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