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Beyond Garnish

June 22, 1995|MARION CUNNINGHAM

Parsley is our most overlooked herb, having had the misfortune of being used as a token garnish. You see that single sprig on plates of eggs, fish and meat; you see rows of it dividing meats in butcher cases.

But it is an excellent herb: nutritious (it contains Vitamin C and chlorophyll), sturdy, long-lasting and cheap. The Romans and Greeks appreciated parsley very much and revered its medicinal properties. They used it for wreaths to honor their winning athletes.

Most important, parsley is delicious when presented properly. James Beard loved parsley salad, and in his early cooking classes we all became parsley converts.

The following three fresh parsley relishes should make converts of you. After you make these relishes, put them in covered jars in the refrigerator. You can either chop the ingredients in each recipe by hand, or finely chop in a small food processor.

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The fresh parsley relish is good on just about everything but dessert, but try it on French bread as a spread, or grilled beef, boiled potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, on and on. The cucumber-parsley relish is best on seafood and fish of all kinds. Mustard-parsley relish gives chicken, salads and cheese dishes new meaning and sparkle.

CUCUMBER-PARSLEY RELISH

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded

1 cup loosely packed parsley, stems removed

2 green onions

5 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt, pepper

Chop cucumber, parsley and onions fine, either by hand or in small food processor.

Combine sour cream, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste in small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Stir into vegetables. Serve chilled.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Each 1/4-cup serving contains about:

36 calories; 60 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.44 grams fiber.

FRESH PARSLEY RELISH

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon cold water

Salt, pepper

4 cups parsley, stems removed and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Puree oil and garlic in blender or food processor until garlic is smoothly incorporated into oil. Add vinegar, cold water and salt and pepper to taste.

Put parsley and Parmesan cheese in bowl. Add vinaigrette. Toss lightly to mix. In refrigerator, relish will keep well several days if covered.

Makes about 2 cups.

Each 1/4-cup serving contains about:

115 calories; 105 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 11 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.41 gram fiber.

MUSTARD-PARSLEY RELISH

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon cold water

Salt

1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine

Mix olive oil, Dijon mustard, vinegar, water, and salt to taste in small bowl. Blend well. Taste, add little more vinegar or salt, if needed. Add parsley. Mix well. Store covered in refrigerator until needed.

Makes about 3/4 cup.

Each 1/4-cup serving contains about:

172 calories; 340 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 0 carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.08 gram fiber.

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