|Parsley plant, flowering|
Parsley is often used for sauces; the famous German Green Sauce is an example (see borage). Chopped parsley and garlic in olive oil make for a wonderful Mediterranean sauce, to be served to broiled fish.
As an alternative, especially in France, chervil
leaves may serve the same purpose. French cooks frequently combine parsley with
other fresh herbs (e. g., chervil or balm) or use a
classical composition, the renowned fines herbes (see chives); this mixture may substitute pure parsley
leaves for any application, thus giving the dishes a richer aroma and somewhat
Mediterranean character. The famous French recipe sauce
béarnaise also makes use of fresh parsley leaves (see tarragon).
As parsley aroma suffers from any prolonged heat treatment,
parsley leaves should not be cooked if distinct parley fragrance is desired;
quick frying in olive oil, though, is
acceptable. There is, however, one important exception: bouquet
Bouquet garni typically consists of a selection of fresh herbs which are tied to a bundle and cooked in soups, sauces or stews; due to the long cooking time, the herbs’ aroma merges with the flavour of the other ingredients, thereby enriching the food without being recognizable in the finished dish. There are many different kinds of bouquet garni, but most of them contain parsley; furthermore, fresh sprigs of thyme are very often used. Other components depend both on the type of food and on the region.
In France, bouquet garni often contains fresh bay leaves, chervil
and a clove of garlic; in the South
(Provence), cooks would add a piece of fresh orange peel. Some recipes suggest rosemary and tarragon
(you could also use Mexican tarragon
instead). German bouquet garni, on the other side, often
employs celery, savory
and, for fish soup or stew, dill besides parsley.
A variety of bouquet garni called Suppengrün (
green) is common for stock prepared from beef meat or bones; it contains
parsley and celery roots together with carrots, leek, lovage and onion.
Herb bundles are also used in Italian cookery; the herbs most popular are marjoram, lovage, basil and oregano. The fruity tone of tomato sauces goes best with lemon thyme or rue (remove after a few minutes!). Obviously, personal preference plays a major part when it comes to bouquet garni; many herbs less frequently used in the kitchen can be tried (e. g., hyssop, sage, southernwood and many more).
Parsley is a common and popular herb in Western Asia and often appears in Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian or Jordan foods, particularly as a decoration for cold appetizers like hummus [حمص] (flavoured chick pea puree, see sesame) or baba ganoush [بابا غنوج] (aubergine puree). Another famous example is tabbouleh [تبولة], often regarded as the national dish of Lebanon: It is a salad made from burghul [برغل] (also bulghur; Turkish bulgur, parboiled cracked wheat), onion, lemon juice and a selection of vegetables, often cucumber or tomatoes; it owes its fresh flavour to large amounts of chopped fresh parsley and also some mint leaves. In Turkey, a similar salad is prepared (kısır), whose flavour and colour are, however, much altered by use of paprika paste (biber salçası); instead of or together with lemon juice, cooks will often employ pomegranate concentrate. Another Turkish food of that type is çiğ köfte, which, however, contains raw beef and is rather spicy due to a special type of paprika employed.
In the Caucasian region, parsley is also known and popular, although in Azerbaijan, coriander prevails. Georgia, on the other hand, is one of the few countries where both parsley and coriander enjoy equal and high popularity, and both herbs appear (together with others) in large amounts with all the cold foods that make the rich cuisine of that country so unforgettable. Parsley leaves are also often eaten together with cheese. Dried parsley is a component in the famous Georgian spice mixture khmeli-suneli (see blue fenugreek). Further East, it is also found, dried of fresh, in the Irani ghorme-blend (see fenugreek).
The root of parsley is eaten as a vegetable or cooked in soup to improve the
as it does not diminish in flavour after a long time of cooking; cf. above for
German Suppengrün. The fruits, though aromatic, have
found little application; their use in vegetable stews or lentil dishes may,
however, have surprising effects. Since they are an efficient diuretic drug,
large amounts of them may be hazardous, especially for people with kidney
weakness; the same holds true, but to a lesser extent, for the root, but not
for the leaves.