Okay, when you look in your spice cabinet you probably see a wide variety of goodies. Cinnamon and vanilla have those sweet aromas that have you thinking desserts. You’ve got basil, oregano, and garlic that have you saying, “Oh, that’s Italian!” Then there’s dill (seed and weed) that have you thinking pickles and dips! Oh, the list goes on. Then there’s parsley. What do you think of when you see this jar in your cabinet?
Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Parsley’s claim to fame is that it just makes things taste better. You know, kind of how adding a splash of lemon makes fish taste better? So why is that?
Your taste buds can distinguish 5 different tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami. Wait, are you shaking your head? 5 tastes? Umami? Yes, you may not have learned about umami in school but it is a meaty/savory flavor. You can read an article from the WSJ about umami HERE. So why am I rambling on about taste buds and such? Well, the more of these 5 tastes you can bring to your dish, the more flavorful and delicious it becomes. Parsley is a mildly bitter herb so adding it rounds out the flavors in your dish.
When purchasing fresh parsley, go for the flat leaf Italian type. You are probably more familiar with the curly leaf parsley (often used as a garnish) but this type isn’t as flavorful. When cooking with fresh parsley, add it at the end of your cooking time.
Foods that go well with parsley include: chicken & poultry, fish, eggs, seafood & mussels, pasta, rice, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, lentils, lemon.
For every Tbsp of fresh parsley recipe calls for, you can substitute 1 tsp dried parsley.