To some, parsley is just something that garnishes fish – but it’s so much more. It is rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Cooks love it for its bright color and fresh flavor it adds to salads, soups, fish, poultry, meat, eggs, sauces, and vegetables. Parsley has the generous capacity to lend its own freshness to dried herbs. Dried dill, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and chervil will take on an almost fresh flavor if mixed with equal amounts of fresh parsley.
In the 17th century, English colonists brought the hardy biennial to America where it has been abundantly cultivated ever since, although it is usually planted as an annual. However slow to germinate, parsley is easy to grow both indoors and out. It likes rich soil, good light, and frequent watering. I love going out to my garden and picking a handful whenever I need it.
Here are some easy ways to use fresh parsley:
-Beat 1/2 cup softened butter with 1 Tablespoon snipped parsley and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Serve with fresh sweet corn or use in making hollandaise or bearnaise sauces.
-Simmer 1/2 cup parsley sprigs in 1 quart water for 30 minutes; flavor with lemon and honey for an unusual iced beverage.
-For parsley ravigote, beat 2 Tablespoons vinegar and 5 Tablespoons olive oil, adding the oil 1 Tablespoon at a time, in a small bowl until light. Beat in 1/2 cup minced onion, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon drained capers, 1 Tablespoon snipped parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. This is good used as a sauce for cold cooked meats.
-For a parsley dip for vegetables: Stir together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup snipped parsley, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, and 2 teaspoons grated onion. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Serve with assorted vegetables.