Cooking with parsley
Parsley is one the most common herbs used in cooking. It tastes green and woody, and it works well as a herby base for many dishes. The flat leaf parsley has more tender leaves and is more flavoursome than the curly one.
Raw, chopped parsley can be used to garnish and flavour any kind of cold or hot dish. Parsley is an essential ingredient for making pesto, tabouleh, chimichurri, salsa verde, or gremolata. It is also used to flavour soups, stocks and sauces. Parsley stems shouldn’t be wasted- they are a great addition to vegetable stocks, so freeze them and use them as you need.
Parsley has large amounts of vitamins A, C, K and folate as well as some minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.
Lucy's Red Lentil & Parsley Salad
3 cups red lentils
1/3 jar of capers
1 red onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
20g chopped parsley
100ml olive oil
60ml red wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1-2 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 tsp finely grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Wash and drain the lentils in a sieve. Add to a pan with preheated water, bring to the boil, and simmer. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. You don't want them too soft as they will turn to a sludge. Drain and put to one side.
Make the dressing. In a bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard and all of the dried spices.
Add the onion, capers, currants, parsley and lentils. You can wait until the lentils are completely cooled, or use them while they are still warm, depending on your preference.
I like to add grilled/fried halloumi to mine, otherwise this recipe is vegan-friendly.
Parsley is a biennial - meaning that it has a two year life-cycle, producing seeds in the second year. It is in the same family as dill.
You can sow the seeds from early spring to the start of summer. To enhance germination, you can soak the seeds overnight. Be patient, as parsley can be slow to germinate.
Once the seedlings are around 5cm tall, plant out in rich, moist, semi-shady soil.
Keep well watered - parsley likes it moist.
When the leaf stems have around three segments, you can begin to harvest. Cut leaves from the outer portions of the plant low down on the stems whenever you need them. Leave the inner portions of the plant to mature. To extend the lifespan of your parsley plant, cut back any flowerheads.