Parsley is not your average condiment, but a powerful healing food with unexpected nutrient quality. Read Monday’s article for more information on the health benefits of this delightful herb. Luckily there are many more options for using parsley than the traditional sprinkle or sprig atop a dish – salads, dressings, marinades and pesto are just a few delicious options. Parsley grows well in the wet soil of the Northwest and local production is beginning to thrive. Add a bundle to your organic produce delivery from Full Circle or pick some up at your local Farmers Market this weekend.
In Argentina, parsley is used to make Chimichurri, a staple served with most meals and paired with the popular Asado (grilled meats). The pairing works well to tame down the often-intense spice rub on the meats and to help you digest the heavy proteins. My worries about the less cautious care for food contamination were put at ease by the pairing as well; knowing that the parsley in the chimichurri would help keep my system clear of bacteria. Now I am addicted to its bursting flavor and the simplicity of throwing it together for a quick meal.
1 packed cup flat leaf Italian parsley
¼ cup fresh oregano
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Finely chop the parsley and oregano by hand. Using a blender for this will make the parsley into a paste and it is much better when the leaves are still somewhat in tact for this recipe. Mince the fresh garlic and add to the parsley and oregano mixture. Add the salt and red pepper and lightly mash with the herb mixture. Add the vinegar and olive oil and mix until incorporated. Add more salt and pepper depending on your taste preferences. Use immediately or let sit at room temperature for a few hours so flavors have time to mingle. Serve with grilled meats, crunchy French bread or use as a marinade.
Another favorite for fresh parsley and any leafy green you have on hand-
Fresh Kale and Parsley Salad
2 packed cups fresh parsley (curly or flat leaf both work – or a mix!)
4 packed cups fresh kale, torn from the stalk
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
In a large bowl combine the parsley and kale. Add the lemon juice and use your (clean) hands to toss and massage the leaves with the lemon juice. This process helps break down the rougher texture of the greens, makes their flavors pop and helps your body digest the raw greens more efficiently. Add the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and toss until just combined. Top with slivered almonds and cranberries/cherries and serve.