Parsley? Who Eats Parsley?

I do!  I love the aroma and fresh taste of parsley.  Have ever since I was a child.

I remember coming home from kindergarten and it seemed my mother would often serve me Lipton chicken noodle soup for lunch.  She always sprinkled fresh chopped parsley on top with a little pat of butter which slowly melted into the hot soup.  Even today I can smell and taste the parsley on that soup.  It made that boxed soup special, almost homemade.

Flat Leaf Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley

Today I sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on salads, soup, casseroles…just about anything.  I never use dried parsley as I don’t see the point.  It doesn’t really taste like much of anything and fresh parsley is relatively inexpensive and so flavorful.  It’s flavorful, that is, if you use flat leaf Italian parsley.  The curly leaf really doesn’t have much flavor but I guess it looks cute as a garnish if that’s all you are looking for.

Today I made a guacamole / salsa combo to serve with chili.  It was delicious if I do say so myself.  The recipe goes this way:

Guacamole Salsa

1  jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
1 small garlic glove crushed
1 ripe avodaco
1/2 cup chopped tomato
3/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Saute the jalapeno pepper in a little canola oil until soft.  Transfer to bowl.  Add chopped onion and crushed garlic to bowl.  Take half of the avocado, chop it. add to bowl then mash with fork.  Add chopped tomato, parsley and other half of avocado, chopped.  Sprinkle with juice of half lemon.  Sprinkle with olive oil and salt.  Toss well.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings if more salt or lemon juice is needed.

Avocado Salsa

Avocado Salsa

You can also serve this with chips as a snack or canape.  These ‘Food Should Taste Good’ brand of Olive Tortilla chips work especially well with this salsa.  I had them with the chili and they were delicious.  These chips are gluten free as well!

Food Should Taste Good Olive Tortilla Chips

Food Should Taste Good Olive Tortilla Chips

 I’m thinking that this salsa can easily be transformed into a lovely lunch by adding some cooked shrimp and serving it on a bed of greens.

This recipe reminds me that I hadn’t tasted an avocado until I was well into my adulthood.  And then, once tasted, it quickly became a regular in my recipe repertoire.  I remember my sister, Mary, grew avocado trees on her balcony.  She named them…one was Angelique and the other was Aaron…or so I remember.  Even if you don’t have a yard or a balcony, you can easily grown an avocado tree (and it’s fun for the kids, too)!  See this link: http://www.californiaavocado.com/grow-your-own-tree/

So back to parsley.  My mother used to make little beef patties that were called “Schnitzle” or “Schnitzla”…it was pronounced with a soft “a” sound at the end.  They were always cooked in a big old cast iron skillet.  They were simple to make but you had to use fresh chopped parsley in this recipe or it just wouldn’t work.  The following recipe is approximate; as far as I know, my mother never wrote this one down. 

Schnitzla

1 lb. ground beef
2 pieces of good quality white bread*
1/3 cup onion, medium chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
 

Place the ground beef in a bowl.  The white bread my mother used was Arnold’s or Pepperidge Farms.  The pieces were not large or thick back then.  If you can find this smallish loaf of white bread, use 2 pieces to one pound; if you only have the larger, thicker size bread common today, then use 1 piece.  Sprinkle the bread with a little water to soften slightly and then break into small crumbs over the beef.  Add the onion, egg, parsley and salt and mix well with your hands.  Pat into hamburger shaped patties and fry in a little canola oil in a hot skillet until brown and crusty on both sides.  Drain on paper towels and serve.

Schnitzla Cooking in Cast Iron Skillet

Schnitzla Cooking in Cast Iron Skillet

I don’t eat beef.  And I have to admit that the photo of the schnitzla cooking in the cast iron skillet was a photo of patties made with Gimme Lean veggie protein.  The schnitzla made with Gimme Lean looked exactly like regular beef schnitzla and smelled like regular beef schnitzla.  The taste was not exactly the same….but they were good!  Gimme Lean comes in a 14 oz. package.  The chili I spoke about above was made with half of the package and the schnitzla was made with the other half.  The only change I made to the schnitzla recipe was that with the 7 oz of Gimme Lean, I used 2 eggs instead of one as the Gimme Lean is very condensed and drier than ground beef.

Gimme Lean

Gimme Lean

My mother almost always served schnitzla with boiled potatoes and onions.  She’d peel and chop potatoes and boil in salted water until cooked.  While the potatoes were cooking she’d slowly cook some chopped onion in melted butter until the onion became soft and lightly browned. Once the potatoes were cooked, she’d drain the water and add them to the buttered onion.  Salt to taste.  The creamy boiled potatoes and browned buttered onions were a perfect side dish to these schnitzla.  Is it dinner time yet?

What would linquini and clam sauce be without chopped fresh parsley?  Boring and unattractive.  How about pesto?  You can supplement that expensive basil (unless you grow the basil yourself which I plan to do this year) with parsley.  Actually, you can substitute all of the basil with flat leaf parsley and the pesto is still delicious.

Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh

And tabbouleh just wouldn’t be tabbouleh without fresh parsley.  This description and photo has been taken from Wikipedia:

Tabbouleh (Arabic: تبولة‎ tabūlah; also tabouleh or tab(b)ouli) is a Levantine Arab salad traditionally made of bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, finely chopped parsley, mint, onion and garlic, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt, although there are various other variations such as using couscous instead of bulgur.[1][2] Traditionally served as part of a mezze in the Arab world, it was adopted by Cypriots, variations of it are made by Turks and Armenians, and it has become a popular ethnic food in Western cultures.

Tabbouleh and falafel…yum.  I’m going to experiment with baked falafel and that will be the subject of another post another day.  For those who are unfamiliar with ‘falafel’ it is a patty or ball made from ground chickpeas and usually deep fried. 

And, last but not least, parsley is good for you!  You can read all about it here http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/parsley.html

This is just a tiny snippit of what this site has to say “The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium. Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.”

So go eat some parsley!

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