Fresh parsley is full of flavor, vitamins and antioxidants. The curly parsley sprig of yore, awkwardly sitting atop a slice of orange belies nothing of the actual power of the parsley! Parsley’s main flavor is green, it adds freshness and vitality to rich, fatty, unctuous foods, it brightens and lightens. Parsley is the Bob Balaban of herbs—it may not be the star attraction, but the dish is ultimately better because of its presence.
QUICK ADDS –
Toss fresh parsley leaves with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and strew them across a plate of pasta Bolognese or Alfredo.
Chop fresh parsley and add it to a rice pilaf or stuffing just before serving.
Save parsley stems to add flavor stock and soups, add fresh chopped parsley to soups (especially chicken) just before serving
Dress parsley leaves and thinly sliced white onion with red wine vinegar, olive oil + salt and pepper and add to a sandwich. (especially good with leftover roast chicken and Dijon mustard).
Persillade- Parsley Sauce
This simplest of sauces elevates any dish. Simply drizzled over a grilled chicken breast or a filet of fresh fish it quickly converts eating to dining. I like to toss it in with roasted vegetables right before bringing them to the table, or I spoon it over a simple roast chicken, grilled meat. Finish a risotto, or creamy pasta dish with a few spoonfuls. I use it as a layer is a mushroom lasagna, or I toss roasted mushrooms with a spoonful or so, also great with oven fried or roasted potatoes. And let me tell you it quickly makes fried or scrambled eggs (esp. duck eggs!) into a meal (it’s not bad on toast, but even better if that toast has something fatty like goat cheese or pate on top). It has endless uses and lasts a couple days in the fridge.
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 small clove garlic (or one large depending on your garlic preferences)
1 teaspoon coarse salt (You can use a fine salt IF that’s all you have, but a salt with some texture really takes this up a level- I recommend Maldon Salt or coarse Maine sea salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar (anything but balsamic, it’s too heavy) or the juice and zest of a lemon, or orange or lime.
Place parsley and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, alternatively you can chop them by hand or use a mortar and pestle- you want a fine chop but not a puree (though a puree is fine too)
Stir in oil and vinegar and season with salt
Other things you can add
Persillade will become Salsa Verde if you add a finely chopped anchovy filet and a tablespoon or so of capers (or just capers if you are anchovy adverse)- I am particularly fond of this sauce on lamb or beef, and it is rather beautiful on grilled fish, or mix into roasted peppers and serve with thick grilled country bread.
Replace half the parsley with mint for an exotic South American twist.
A teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes will add heat, and is especially nice with pork chops, or added to a dish of pasta with clams or shrimp.
Replace the garlic with finely chopped shallot and spoon over raw, grilled or roasted oysters.
Replace the olive oil with softened unsalted butter and smear under the skin of a whole chicken right before roasting--- or top of the skin right before carving, or both.
Replace olive oil with mayonnaise and use a dip for cold poached seafood or with fried fish as an alternative to tartar sauce, or (my favorite) French fries
Parsley and Toasted Almond Pesto
I absolutely LOVE this with clams, and of course it is lovely with pasta. Simple bright fresh and green its beautiful and relatively inexpensive dinner put together in mere minutes. You can make a large batch of this and freezer for later use.
2 cups parsley (you can use the stems!)
1/2 cup toasted almonds (if you want to be fancy use Marcona almonds)
2 clove garlic
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
1 pinch red pepper flakes
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Place parsley, garlic, orange zest, nuts in bowl of food processor.
Process until it becomes paste
With processor running slowly add olive oil
Scrape in to a bowl, stir is cheese
Season to taste.
Toss into hot pasta along with a ladle full of pasta water for creamy sauce or dollop on to steamed little neck clams ---or both.
Other ways to use it
This pesto is also an AMAZING addition to grilled cheese, use a good strong sharp cheese like a tome. Aged gouda or cheddar.
Slather it on chicken breasts or shrimp before or after roasting (or both).
It’s also rather good spooned in to a minestrone soup (or creamy potato soup, or butternut squash soup or white bean soup—really almost any soup- it may seem wrong but a spoonful stirred into clam chowder is pretty great too)
Apple, Parsley & Walnut Salad with Blue Cheese
This is my favorite Thanksgiving salad. The Thanksgiving salad is a something my husband and I fail to agree upon, he thinks it an unnecessary addition, I think salad should be part of every feast. My Dad, who was my Thanksgiving cooking partner would have loved this salad—bitter greens with fruit and cheese, slightly decadent but not so over the top. I personally like it after the turkey, before dessert as a Cheese/Salad course hybrid with a few oat crackers and glass of tawny port. The apples, parsley & lettuces help ease your digestion, and the cheese and nuts get your palate ready for dessert.
I especially love this salad with foraged wild apples, I am deeply in love with those random roadside fruits, if you can get your hands on a rough skinned perfumed Russet apple they are glorious in this recipe, but any apple (even pear) will work.
Lovely on its own, serve it alongside a bowl of butternut squash soup with some good bread and you have a hearty fall lunch or lovely light supper. It is also a terrific side dish to roast pork, duck or sausages.
If blue cheese is not something you love you can use fresh goat cheese or leave out the cheese altogether or set a wedge of ripe creamy camembert, brie or other washed rind cheeses on the side.
This makes 2- 6 salads depending on the portion- actually it could just be a big salad for one, I love a big salad.
1 cup apple cut in thins slices or matchsticks (I don’t peel them but you can)
1 cup fresh parsley leaves (I prefer flat leaf for this salad)
1 cup bitter lettuces (radicchio, endive, frissee or all three) julienned or in the case of frisee torn in small fluffy pieces
½ cup toasted walnuts
½ cup celery leaves (those pale green leaves lurking deep in the heart of a head of celery)
Salt & pepper to taste
½ cup good local blue cheese, crumbled
Ingredients - Dressing (can be made ahead up to 3 days ahead)
1 small shallot diced (about a tablespoon or so)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar (if you can find some good artisan vinegar that is the best)
½ tablespoon honey
2/3 cup Olive oil OR 1/3 cup grapeseed oil + 1/3 cup walnut oil
1 teaspoon fresh Thyme leaves
Pour vinegar over shallots and let sit while you prepare the vegetables
Whisk honey & thyme leaves into the vinegar and shallots
Slowly whisk oil in to the vinegar mixture
If you are using 2 oils start with the grapeseed and finish with the walnut oil
You can also just put in all in a mason jar, screw the cap on and shake hard about 20 times
Toss the parsley, celery leaves and lettuces together
Add the apples
Season with alt and pepper
Toss altogether with dressing
Top with walnuts & blue cheese