Poor old parsley is probably the most overlooked herb. The most common form it seems to take is as a quickly-discarded garnish, or else it is chopped into tiny flecks and scattered onto buttered new potatoes. Well, I recently found myself with an abundance of the curly kind, and no idea what to do with it. The only parsley recipe I could think of was tabbouleh (I now realise I should definitely have made some when making my moroccan feast) so I decided to delve into the internet and discover more about it.
It turns out that parsley is a pretty impressive plant. Half a cup of parsley contains over 500% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin K. I already knew vitamin K must be important as babies are injected with it at birth – I discovered vitamin K helps our blood to clot and our bones to grow strong. Parsley also contains vitamins A, B12 and C; folic acid; tonnes of antioxidants which supposedly help ward off the likes of diabetes, heart disease and cancers; and is anti-inflammatory so can relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
The ancient Greeks even believed parsley was sacred and used it to adorn coffins. I wanted to restore parsley to its former glory. Determined to allow this little herb that had grown so well for me its time in the limelight, I got myself into the kitchen.
My Parsley Pesto recipe is deeply flavourful but less powerful than its more traditional basil cousin. It would be delicious served over pasta or chicken, like any other pesto.
You will need:
A few large handfuls curly leaf parsley, thoroughly washed and roughly chopped
60g pine nuts
Pinch sea salt
Half a clove garlic, peeled
A generous handful freshly grated parmesan
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over a low heat. Toast until just golden for a creamy pesto, although feel free to toast them further if you want a more nutty flavour.
2. In a food processor or pestle and mortar, bruise the garlic and parsley with the sea salt. I used the plastic blades of my food processor, as my pestle and mortar is tiny.
3. Turn this mixture out into a bowl and stir in a glug of olive oil.
4. Add half the parmesan and stir through. Taste the pesto and continue adding cheese and oil until you reach a consistency you are happy with. Add a dash of lemon juice if you like, and season with black pepper.
And devour! This is definitely going to become a favourite in our household, I can tell…