There's a lot more to parsley than its use as a garnish. The vibrant taste of parsley, especially sweet-flavored Italian flat leaf, makes it a delicious flavoring for a sauce. Grow your own or pick up a package from the supermarket, then use it to create a sauce to complement meat, fish and vegetables.
For the best flavor, choose fresh parsley over dried parsley. Examine the herb and discard any wilted or discolored leaves. Whether it comes from your garden or a package, rinse the parsley leaves thoroughly before using to remove any remaining dirt or pesticides. Determine how much you need for your recipe, then chop the parsley carefully with a knife or food chopper. Set the parsley aside while you prepare the base for the sauce.
White Parsley Sauce
Liven up fish, meat and vegetable dishes with a white parsley sauce. The base is a simple white sauce made with butter, flour and milk. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then blend in the flour with a whisk. Add the milk a splash at a time while whisking the sauce. Heat the milk base slowly to its simmering point, whisking constantly to avoid burning it. Add the parsley to the sauce just before serving so the parsley retains its body. White parsley sauce is yummy served over a slice of ham, and goes especially well with salmon cakes, baked cod and mashed potatoes, according to Delia Smith of BBC.
Prepare a simple butter sauce with parsley to go with meat and vegetables. Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it simmers. Add the parsley, a dash of lemon for zest and crushed garlic, then serve it over new potatoes, carrots and steak. Make a delicious Mediterranean cold green sauce, or salsa verde, to go with grilled meats or fish. Combine chopped parsley, minced onion, crushed garlic, chopped capers and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow the sauce to sit for a short time for the flavors to fully develop.
Handling and Storage
Parsley is a fragile herb, so take steps to keep it fresh until you're ready to use it. Add the parsley to hot sauces at the last minute, so it retains its body, flavor and nutrition. Refrigerate leftover fresh parsley wrapped in a damp paper towel inside a tightly closed plastic bag. If you prefer, dry leftover fresh parsley by setting it out on a clean paper towel in a warm, dry spot on your kitchen counter or inside your refrigerator in a closed paper bag. Afterward, store it in an airtight glass container to retain its flavor.
- Nutrition Value: Parsley
- University of Minnesota Extension: Growing Parsley
- The Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer et al; 1997
- BBC: English Parsley Sauce
- New York Times: Recipe: Salsa Verde
- Texas A and M AgriLife Extension: Parsley and Cilantro
- Photo Credit olgakr/iStock/Getty Images
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