Monday, April 12, 2010

Market Fresh: Parsley

Parsley is the perfect herb to use in early spring. It's bright green color and fresh taste echo what is happening in nature around us. And, if you have it in your garden, you've probably already discovered it beginning to grow again.



There are two varieties of parsley in common use: curly parsley and flat-leaf or Italian parsley. Many people prefer the Italian parsley and claim it has a more intense flavor. I prefer the curly parsley and feel it has a much stronger flavor than flat-leaf. Perhaps its nostalgia that attaches me to it -- my Grandmother always had a large patch of curly parsley in her garden from which we were free to eat. It's that taste that I associate with proper parsley taste.

Everyday Food March 2010 had a great article on parsley, including four different salads. If you have that issue you may want to check it out for some creative ideas. I tried the Bibb and Parsley Salad with Anchovy Dressing. I think many of us are not used to having a monochromatic salad, but it's always nice to have a change, and the parsley added a fresh taste. If you don't like anchovies, simply leave them out of the dressing -- it will still be a great salad. (And if you've never tried anchovies, live dangerously and see if you just might enjoy them.)



BIBB AND PARSLEY SALAD WITH ANCHOVY DRESSING
(Everyday Food March 2010)
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2 anchovy fillets
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

1 head Bibb or Boston lettuce
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley

In a large bowl, mash the anchovy fillets with the back of a fork. Whisk in the lemon juice and olive oil along with the pinch of sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lettuce and parsley. Toss to combine.

Serves 4.



Parsley sauce is a delightful way to enjoy parsley in the spring. It makes a wonderful sauce to accompany chicken, fish or pasta.

PARSLEY SAUCE
(adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com)
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1 cup whole milk
1/2 medium onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
small bunch curly parsley, washed and chopped

Pour the milk into a medium pan and add the onion and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then leave to stand for 30 minutes. When cool, remove the onion and bay leaf.

Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add the milk to the pan, stirring. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper (and nutmeg if you like). Keep warm over a low heat, stirring occasionally.

Makes about 1 cup.