So, everyone who’s ever purchased a bundle or three of parsley for Pesach and then still seemed to have a bundle or three of parsley left when the Seders were over, please raise your hand.
Truthfully, except on Pesach, most of us use parsley as a garnish and … a garnish is just about the only thing that comes to mind. Well, hang on to your Haggadah because this column is devoted to that underappreciated leafy herb that is front and center on your Seder plate and usually left to languish unappreciated in the back of the fridge after yontif.
Parsley is actually related to celery (sort of like its skinnier first cousin), and the most commonly available types are curly leaf and flat-leaf. The answer to the question of which one best belongs on the Seder plate is pick the one you like best, either one is fine. As to the taste difference between them, the flat leaf has a stronger flavor and fragrance. It is also less bitter than the curly kind.
You should look for parsley that is deep green in color and has tight leaves. Clean the parsley like you clean spinach, which is very well, and check for bugs! Place it in a bowl of cool water and swish it around, then dry it on towels.
Parsley is great but is rarely, if ever, considered a main ingredient. However, impress your friends and family with the following parsley recipes that are perfect for Chol Hamoed and can be easily converted to be used year-round. They let you get creative on a holiday where the menus tend to all be the same old, same old matzah-centric dishes.
As a final plus for parsley, you’ll be able to say you’re eco-friendly by keeping it “green.”
Note: Parsley should be added at the end of the cooking process so that it retains its flavor and color. One great parsley trick is that if you’re making a lighter-colored sauce, just use the stems instead of the leaves, as it will give you the flavor of parsley but not the green color.
Baked Salmon Loaf with Parsley Cream | Fish
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 cans salmon, drained and flaked
1½ cups matzah meal
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, milk and eggs, then beat to combine. Add the salmon, matzah meal, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Place the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cook uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for 4 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with parsley cream sauce.
Parsley Cream Sauce | Dairy
4 tablespoons butter
2½ tablespoons matzah cake meal
2 cups milk
¼ cup mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
In a saucepan, melt the butter, and then quickly whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk, cheeses, pepper and parsley. Cook, whisking constantly until combined and the cheese is melted (1 to 2 minutes). Serve immediately.
Makes about 2½ cups JN