Ingredient Spotlight: Italian Parsley

2009-09-08-Parsley.jpg Parsley is a garnish. Or that's what so many of us tell ourselves, passing it without a second look at the grocery store.

But lately I've been grabbing a bunch and adding it to my cart, largely inspired by Tamar Adler's book An Everlasting Meal. In her book, Adler writes about ways to cook basic, delicious food and make the most out of each ingredient you buy. Of parsley, she notes "I recommend buying a bunch of parsley whenever you can. Then, once you have it, act as children do when handed hammers and suddenly everything needs pounding." Adler goes on to point out that a poached egg needs parsley, hot rice needs parsley ... she even has a recipe in the book for Parsley Salad.

Since finishing the book, I've been buying flat parsley whenever I'm at the store and chopping it to add to salads, chili and soups, and stir-fried rice. It really does make your meal seem much more tended to. A once flat bowl of leftover rice becomes a bit more exciting with some parsley and red chili flakes. Add some scrambled egg and you've got a well-rounded lunch. So, gone are the days of using parsley solely for a garnish, and welcome the days of keeping a bowl of the freshly washed, de-stemmed herb in a bowl at all times ready and waiting for the moment a dish needs a little perking up.

Related: Lunch Recipe: Kalamata Olive and Parsley Potato Salad

(Image: Flickr member Kelli Mari licensed for use under Creative Commons)