A Garnish Takes Center Stage


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 hagaddah 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: 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-around. 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

Serves eight

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cans salmon, drained and flaked
  • 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 four to five minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with parsley cream sauce (below).

Parsley Cream Sauce | Dairy

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 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 one minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in the milk, cheeses, pepper and parsley. Cook, whisking constantly until combined and the cheese is melted (one to two minutes). Serve immediately. Makes about 2½ cups.

Hearts of Palm and Parsley Chopped Salad | Pareve

Serves six to eight

  • 10 green onions, chopped
  • 6 to 8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans (14½ ounces) hearts of palm, drained and cut into thin disks
  • ¾ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 can black olives, chopped
  • 2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce

Put the onions in a bowl of cold water and soak them for five minutes. Drain. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the green onions, hearts of palm, olives, parsley, water chestnuts and lettuce. Toss to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

In a serving bowl, combine the mushroom mixture with the parsley and cauliflower. Mix gently and serve. Best served warm.

Lime and Parsley Salad | Pareve

Serves eight

  • 1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber sliced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Put everything into a bowl and toss to combine. 

Parmesan Cauliflower and Parsley Salad | Dairy

Serves eight

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 5 cups loosely packed fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
  • cup olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil until combined. Add the mushrooms and mix to coat. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the eggs with the salt and pepper. Mix to combine and add the cauliflower. Toss to coat well. Put the Parmesan in a large bowl.

With a slotted spoon, place the cauliflower into the cheese, tossing to coat. In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot but not smoking. Cook the cauliflower in three to four batches. Turn occasionally, until golden on all sides, three to four minutes per batch. Remove the cauliflower from the oil, drain it on paper towels and let it cool slightly.

In a serving bowl, combine the mushroom mixture with the parsley and cauliflower. Mix gently and serve. Best served warm.


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