Make parsley part of the entree, not just an ornament

A fillet of salmon gets all dressed up with a mixture of parsley, dill and scallions

QUENTIN BACON | Clarkson Potter

A fillet of salmon gets all dressed up with a mixture of parsley, dill and scallions

Fresh, bright, clean — all the words I have heard used to describe parsley make me feel as if I am reading an advertisement for the latest and greatest toothpaste.

Mark Bittman, author of the How to Cook Everything series and many other cookbooks, describes it in a phone conversation as "such an underdog herb. People have used it for the longest time just as a garnish, but there are so many more uses for it."

It is such a hearty herb and is available year-round. Instead of just using it as small garnish, this is an herb that should be used by the handfuls. He suggests buying bunches with a higher proportion of leaf to stem, as the herb has a tendency to get "leggy." (Oh, and I love that he described the taste as green and bright.) There are 30 kinds of parsley, I recently read. I am only familiar with the flat-leaf and curly kinds. Bittman and I both thought that the flavor difference was not discernible, but that perhaps flat parsley is easier to clean. I rinse it well, then spread it on a paper towel to dry. And it's hardy enough to take a turn in the salad spinner. Bittman recommends storing it stem-down in a jar of water, but confesses that he generally never does it himself because he uses up all the parsley he buys so quickly.

Hilda Brucker, author of Gardening (New Seasons, 2002), provided me some great tips on parsley:

• Stick with fresh parsley; the dried stuff is flavorless and useless.

• Grow it. Parsley reseeds itself in the garden and is easy to grow once you get it started.

• Clean it. Before chopping, rinse the herb thoroughly under running water. I once ruined a pesto by not rinsing the parsley well enough, and later kept finding gritty bits of sand as I was eating.

• Add it late in cooking. For maximum flavor, stir chopped parsley into a pasta, soup or stir-fry when it's almost done cooking — or even just before serving. The flavor and color degrade quickly from too much cooking.

• Add its flavor to what the French call bouquet garni, an herb packet used for seasoning dishes such as coq au vin or braised lamb shanks. Tie a bunch of parsley together at the stem ends and let it simmer with the other ingredients from the beginning, then remove and discard the soggy "bouquet" before serving. It imparts a subtle flavor. I do love parsley, but I was happier when I did not know that it was related to celery. But it's also related to carrots and parsnips. There, I can adore parsley again.

EASY

Roasted Salmon With Green Herbs

2 to 2 ½ pounds skinless salmon fillet

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup minced scallions, white and green parts

½ cup minced fresh dill

½ cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup dry white wine

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillet in a glass, ceramic or stainless-steel roasting dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the scallions, dill and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet, turning it so that both sides are generously coated with the green herbs. Pour the wine around the fish fillet.

Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon in the very center. (Peek by inserting the tip of a small knife.) Remove from oven, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon crosswise into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Serves 6.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? (Clarkson Potter 2010)

>>easy

Roasted Salmon With Green Herbs

2 to 2 ½ pounds skinless salmon fillet

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup minced scallions, white and green parts

½ cup minced fresh dill

½ cup minced fresh parsley

¼ cup dry white wine

Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Place the salmon fillet in a glass, ceramic or stainless steel roasting dish and season it generously with salt and pepper. Whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle the mixture evenly over the salmon. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the scallions, dill and parsley. Scatter the herb mixture over the salmon fillet, turning it so that both sides are generously coated with the green herbs. Pour the wine around the fish fillet.

Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until almost cooked in the center at the thickest part. The center will be firm with just a line of uncooked salmon in the very center. (Peek by inserting the tip of a small knife.) Remove from oven, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Cut the salmon crosswise into serving pieces and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Serves 6.

Source: Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa:

How Easy is That? (Clarkson Potter, 2010)

Make parsley part of the entree, not just an ornament 01/04/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:52pm]

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