day 212 – Parsley

There are two types of parsley, Italian Flat Leaf and Curly Decorative.

One cup of minced fresh parsley contains more beta-carotene than one carrot, double the vitamin C of an orange, and more calcium than an equal amount of milk and twenty times more iron than 3 ounces of liver.

Best way to get that much parsley?  Eat tabouli!!

My absolute favorite tabouli that I compare to every tabouli in the world is from Zena’s in Orange on the corner of Tustin and Meats. The food is Lebanese and their tabouli is mom’s secret recipe. And the best ever!

Parsley tea is used as a tea in Germany and China because of its diuretic properties.  Just steep two teaspoons of fresh parsley in one cup of water and steep covered for ten minutes.  This helps if you are retaining water.

Parsley is a native of the Mediterranean and needs at least six hours of sun but in sunny So Cal you can get away or may even need to shade it for the better part of the day during the summer.  You can grow it year round here, actually.  Wherever my cilantro grows in the winter is where my parsley does best in the summer.

Parsley has a mild green flavor, a sweet, fresh taste and works in most dishes, cold or hot.  Use it in salads, omelets, soups, stir-fries and as a garnish.

Keep it fresh by placing the stems in a long glass of water and store it in the fridge, just like a bouquet in a vase.

The French mince fresh parsley, shallots and/or garlic and add Persillade to soup, a sauté or any dish at the last minute of cooking.  The Italians combine minced fresh parsley with garlic and lemons zest and add Gremolata atop fish for a burst of flavor.

Fines Herbes is a mixture generally used in egg dishes.  It combines dried parsley, chervil, chives and tarragon.  You can make your own either fresh or dried.  It is basically equal parts parsley and chervil, for example ½ cup each, then half of that of  chopped chives, or for the example, ¼ cup.  Then add a few chopped tarragon leaves and voila, Fines Herbes for your next cheese soufflé, omelet or scramble.  Fines Herbes is also delicious with fish.

For both Persillade or Gremolata, Saute briefly 2 cloves of garlic, minced.  Then add 2 Tablespoons of chopped parsley, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of grated lemon or even orange zest (according to taste and zip you want to achieve), ¼ teaspoon of salt and blend raw or sauté briefly.   Either is legal.  Add some lemon juice to make it more tart.  Refrigerate in a covered jar for up to five days.  Goes great with everything.  Just dip into it with plain old French or Italian bread served warm.  Yummy!

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