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Fresh Parsley


woodburner
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I'll tell my way of doing it and then add a question of my own. I usually unwrap the bunch, and roughly pick off the leaves and form a pile on my cutting board. Having some stems isn't bad. I just get rid of the really thick parts. This usually only takes a minute or two for a whole bunch. Then I just chop away until it reaches the "fineness" (is that a word :blink: ?) I'm looking for.

Now my question. How do you seperate fresh thyme? I don't think these stems are as desirable as the parsley stems and I can never seperate all the little pieces without getting a bunch of little stems in there. I know about holding the piece from the reverse side, and sliding your finger down to pull off the leaves, but this never works good due to the many "sub branches" coming off of the main one. Does anyone have any good ideas for this?

~WBC

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Now my question. How do you seperate fresh thyme? I don't think these stems are as desirable as the parsley stems and I can never seperate all the little pieces without getting a bunch of little stems in there. I know about holding the piece from the reverse side, and sliding your finger down to pull off the leaves, but this never works good due to the many "sub branches" coming off of the main one. Does anyone have any good ideas for this?

~WBC

I use the sub-branches...

Occasionally, I will sit and pick off each individual leaf, but not often.

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For flat parsely, I merely cut off the leafy part with stem and roll in a tight ball and then chop. The lower stems are saved for stock.

For thyme, I strip off the buds from the little stalks and don't worry about the occasional stalk in a preperation. Life's too short! For many preperations the whole stalk is put in and removed before service. -Dick

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I find this task troublesome.

Me too, but cooking is inherently troublesome :hmmm:

Maybe I should use the stems

I use to cut the isolated stems very finely and fry them for 30 seconds in hot, foamy butter.

They have a very nice light greenish colour and an elegant parsley flavour. I use them on lightly fried or poached fish of delicate taste (pike, perch, etc.).

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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I used to pick the leaves individually off of my parsley, but I started to realize it depends on what I'm using it for. If it's going into a sauce, I just bunch them together and chop off the leafy part at the top, discard the thicker stems. If I'm using as chopped plate garnish, I'll pick the leaves off.

I always pick the leaves off of my cilantro, however. They're so much further apart and scarcer on the stem.

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I can't remember which chef I saw do this, but the technique was to chop the parsley up, stem and all. (This is coarsely chopped, not minced type cut.) Then just gently fluff the pile with the tips of your fingers when done and the leaves stay on top and the heavier stems fall to the bottom.

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I don't mind a few stems, but to minimize them, I leave the rubber band on and hold the bunch stem side straight up/leaf side down, barely touching the board. Then I shave downward, trimming a layer of leaves, turning the bunch about 45 degrees, and "shaving" again. I shave and rotate until I have a sufficient amount of herbage. This technique requires a decently sharp knife, but has a real advantage in that the remainder of the bunch still has a high leaf-to-stem ratio for the next time.

Edit to add that I didn't invent this technique; I saw someone on TV do it. If I could remember who, I'd give credit.

Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

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Just curious: I'm wondering, based on the descriptions of some techniques some of you use, whether all of you wash the parsley carefully to get rid of any dirt or (if it's not organic) pesticide residue on the parsley. If not, why not?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Just curious: I'm wondering, based on the descriptions of some techniques some of you use, whether all of you wash the parsley carefully to get rid of any dirt or (if it's not organic) pesticide residue on the parsley. If not, why not?

I wash all vegtables/herbs right after purchase, or if homegrown, dry and then store. I'm very surprised no one trims the parsley from the stems with scissors prior to chopping.

woodburner

Edited by woodburner (log)
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Pan,

I don't think there are responses regarding cleansing the parsley because that's not what the original question was in regards to.

I always rinse, and assume most people do as well. But I'm also not so paranoid that I won't pick something out of my own garden and eat it on the spot.

As a gardener who is particularly aware of hybrid, heirloom, and genetically modified produce grown for commercial production, I'll never be convinced that a simple rinse of water will ever rinse of pesticides which soak into the plant anyway.

Edited by mudbug (log)
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I leave the rubber band on and hold the bunch stem side straight up/leaf side down, barely touching the board. Then I shave downward, trimming a layer of leaves, turning the bunch about 45 degrees, and "shaving" again.

Cool. I never thought I'd want to jump into my car and race to the supermarket to buy a bunch of parsley until I read this. I want to try it!

You can't remember the technique's inventor, so I'll give you credit for this, Dave.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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As a gardener who is particularly aware of hybrid, heirloom, and genetically modified produce grown for commercial production, I'll never be convinced that a simple rinse of water will ever rinse of pesticides which soak into the plant anyway.

I agree. But it couldn't but help some.

You're right that rinsing wasn't part of the question; it's just that some of the wordings of the techniques made me wonder if that was part of the procedures or not.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I hold the parsley (flat) altogether, place it on the board, then with a really sharp narrow knife I shave forward from the stem end up. All all the leaves are released.

then I plop them in a strainer and wash, press, and dry.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I'm very surprised no one trims the parsley from the stems with scissors prior to chopping.

I have but I find that technique to be more efficient with more delicate herbs like chives, dill, fennel tips, tarragon, etc.

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  • 1 year later...

There were such beautiful big bunches of parsley at the market today that I started thinking about this herb.

I always have a bunch in the fridge or in a glass on the window sill. I use it as I assume everyone else is using it - in soups and stews, in a bouquet garnie, in stuffings, to sprinkle on finished dishes (sometimes, I have to admit, just for color).

While I love the aroma that it gives off when you scatter it over a hot dish (almost, I sometimes think, a bit aniseedy) the flavor is always delicate and discreet. Is that why it never takes the centre stage?

I remember years ago I often made a parsley salad: equal amounts of lettuce and the leaves of squeaky fresh parsley. A walnut vinaigrette, some nuts, some goat's cheese. I also remember a walnut-parsley-pesto kind of sauce..

Does anyone else have recipes with parsley as the star player?

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There were such beautiful big bunches of parsley at the market today that I started thinking about this herb.

I always have a bunch in the fridge or in a glass on the window sill. I use it as I assume everyone else is using it - in soups and stews, in a bouquet garnie, in stuffings, to sprinkle on finished dishes (sometimes, I have to admit, just for color).

While I love the aroma that it gives off when you scatter it over a hot dish (almost, I sometimes think, a bit aniseedy) the flavor is always delicate and discreet. Is that why it never takes the centre stage?

I remember years ago I often made a parsley salad: equal amounts of lettuce and the leaves of squeaky fresh parsley. A walnut vinaigrette, some nuts, some goat's cheese. I also remember a walnut-parsley-pesto kind of sauce..

Does anyone else have recipes with parsley as the star player?

I don't know about being the star player, but i always use flat-leaf parsley as the salad underneath any compound salads. so i'll take a large platter, scatter it liberally with dressed parsley (think rocket [arugula]) then top with new potatoes, hot smoked salmon, anchovies, roasted peppers, roast tomatoes, anything.

my point is that i definitely think parsley is a salad leaf, not just a herb.

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The first thing that comes to mind where parsley is, or should be, the main star is tabouli salad. Too many versions that I see at restaurants here don't use enough parsley so I generally make my own. I am also that rare bird, the tomater hater, so I leave that out of my portion. I find tabouli one of those recipes that I enjoy ravaging. I have been known to add finely diced preserved lemon and some other oddments. But it always has to have the parsley as the main ingredient.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I just thought of parsley butter! I think I'm often tempted to make a herby garlicky butter with lots of different herbs, instead of the classic one with just parsley and a bit of lemon juice.

It's easily overwhelmed by other, more assertive flavors (which is often the case in tabbouleh where all you taste is mint)

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Similar to the tabouli, I make a bean piyaz that features a boatload of parsley- the more the better!

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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what's a piyaz?

Apologies for the hit and run post.

Bean Piyaz is a simple Turkish bean salad featuring white beans, red onion, parsley, tomatoes and derssed with a vinaigrette (I like to use lemon juice as well as cider vinager, and EVOO). I don't really have a set recipe but I just try to copy what I've been served before in restaurants, but it's fairly straightforward. Lately I've been using double the amount of parsley from when I first started making it. It's also better if you let it marinate for a while.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Bean Piyaz is a simple Turkish bean salad featuring white beans, red onion, parsley, tomatoes and derssed with a vinaigrette (I like to use lemon juice as well as cider vinager, and EVOO).

ah yes. I've tasted that in Turkey, as an appetizer. Need to dig up my turkish cookbook now!

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If you chop up parsley with Garlic and lemon zest, and serve it over seafood, it's a particularly French thing that Jacques Pepin does a lot on his shows which I forgot the name of.

One of my favorite dishes is just plain sauteed shrimp or scallops (pan seared) with butter, olive oil and garlic, and lots of chopped parsley and lemon zest over fresh pasta. You can't beat it.

I also remember this one Alton Brown recipe for Parsley Salad that sounded particularly good.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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