Giving parsley its due

For years, I only knew parsley as a throwaway garnish found at the edge of the plate in small-town restaurants in the rural area where I grew up. It was only after I began exploring the world of cooking through cookbooks and websites that I discovered it had uses beyond an afterthought decoration. The herb is often overlooked in favor of more trendy items but you should not ignore it. Parsley has a glamorous side, as Fine Cooking explains by showing us the  many ways we can put this ubiquitous herb to excellent use

Parsley sauce

Parsley’s bright, clean but not too assertive flavor, combined with its vivid color, make it an excellent partner to many ingredients. In particular, it provides a nice contrast to the richness of cheese, and helps round out the flavor of pungent ingredients such as anchovies, capers, and olives. The flavor of the two main varieties available in most supermarkets (curly and flat leaf/Italian) is very similar, but the textures are different. Each has its best use: curly parsley works well in salads where it adds a bit of bulk, and flat leaf parsley is easier to chop. The variety is not critical, and you can substitute one for the other in almost any recipe. 

In addition to providing tips on using parsley, the article offers advice on storing it (it keeps well) and growing it. Parlsey is quite hardy and in most temperate climates it will readily self-seed, making it a wonderful addition to almost any garden. Its deep green leaves blend well with many different types of plantings – I grow it between flowers to fill in bare spots while also providing plenty of parsley for my summer and fall cooking. Here are a few recipes that highlight the clean, fresh flavor of parsley: 

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