That green sprig of parsley on your plate may appear decorative, but it does add value to the meal. When you’ve finished your dinner, chew a bit of the parsley leaf and your breath is freshened, if only temporarily, leaving you ready for coffee and dessert.
Parsley, though, is more than just a bit of green on the dinner dish and can do more than just freshen your after-dinner breath. Parsley is an herb and as such, adds flavor to an assortment of foods. It also pairs well with a variety of other herbs and spices.
Ground meats are derived from the less tender, less flavorful cuts of meat. Without some sort of seasoning, ground meat is bland and makes for a dull dinner.
A combination of dried parsley with dried basil, oregano, and sage makes for an Italian blend perfect for meatballs. Use parsley and thyme for hamburgers, adding a touch of celery salt to round out the flavors. Make tacos, burritos and other ground-meat Mexican dishes all the more flavorful with dried parsley and chili powder. The combination is at once startling and satisfying.
Soups often start with sweating the vegetables, and seasoning the vegetables during this step adds depth to the soup when finished. Instead of a pinch of salt, add a sprinkle of dried parsley and a dash of dried thyme. This combination brings out the natural sweetness in the slightly cooked vegetables without overwhelming them with a salty taste.
Stir finely-chopped fresh parsley into soup just before plating, particularly soups made with chicken broth. The parsley freshens up the broth, revitalizing the flavor after simmering.
Any vinaigrette benefits from a hefty pinch of parsley. Add it to the vinegar and lemon mix, along with a bit of dill, and let stand for several minutes before adding the olive oil. The parsley takes the edge off the acidic element and complements the fruitiness of the olive oil.
Add a touch of dried parsley to a creamy salad dressing to give it more depth and brighten the flavors. Combine it with thyme and chives for a lively and smooth taste.
Potatoes and vegetables
Use dried parsley when roasting potatoes and vegetables to bring more depth and culinary range to these foods. Use only dried herbs to season the potatoes and vegetables prior to roasting, as the high heat will turn fresh herbs bitter. Once the roasted potatoes and vegetables have cooled slightly, though, add a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley. Not only does it brighten the flavors, it adds color to the dish.