assorted vegetables and wooden spoon on wooden boards with title: When in Doubt Add Parsley - How to Use This Ubiquitous Herb

When in Doubt Add Parsley – How to Use This Ubiquitous Herb

“When in doubt, add parsley,” I said wryly observing my sandwich which had just been served served with the teeniest bit of parsley ever to adorn a plate.

I’m talking a bit of a leaf. It was so small it wouldn’t have been noticed except for the bright green color that broke up the stark white plate.

I was having lunch with my dear friend Ruth when this culinary obscenity occurred. Maybe there was a parsley shortage in the kitchen, or the chef forgot the garnish altogether and the server didn’t know what to do. When in doubt, add parsley.

Parsley in world cuisine

When you hear the word parsley, you probably think of the the garnish-style curly leaf. But in fact there is another kind of parsley: the flat leaf Italian parsley – a key ingredient in dishes across the world:

  • Tabbouleh – a bulgar wheat salad and the national dish of Lebanon.
  • Persillade –  a French sauce or seasoning made with chopped garlic and chopped parsley
  • Gremolata – a traditional chopped herb mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest often served as an accompaniment to to Italian veal stew (Ossobuco alla milanese).

Parsley – fresh and dried

Besides decorating plates in restaurants, parsley is one of the most versatile of herbs but many folks tell me they just don’t know what to do with it.

When in doubt, add parsley is definitely my culinary motto. I add it freely to my dishes (like salt) and sometimes forget to describe how I use it in recipes. In fact, my family cookbook might need updating after this post, now that I think about it.

Although I enjoy using fresh parsley profusely, I have a huge container of dried parsley from one of those restaurant supply stores for reconstituting in soups, making garlic bread, and sprinkling on boiled potatoes and such.

One of my favorite uses for fresh parsley is eating it after a particularly strong onion or garlic-flavored meal, or even coffee. The chlorophyll (Actizol) in the bright green leaves helps dissipate the bad breath remnants of those strong foods. Remember Clorets gum? When in doubt, add parsley!

Happy cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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