I was watching an episode of the Barefoot Contessa the other day, Ina was cooking from her gorgeous garden. She picked off this huge bunch of flat leaf parsley and said, "Parsley is the most underrate herb but I just love it!" I have to agree, parsley is so much more than just a garnish to be pushed aside.
Parsley is fresh and tangy and has a lovely, almost crisp texture. And it so easy to grow in a pot, just some sun and water is all it needs. Parsley loves to be harvested. It never ceases to amaze at how quickly it fills in after I have harvested a bunch for cooking. Parsley is nature's breath mint. I always chew a few leaves after I eat and it makes my mouth feel so fresh. Try it!
I sprinkle chopped parsley on just about everything, there is nothing like that bright green punch it gives to any dish. I like to put parsley with basil when I make pesto, too. And the stems add great flavor to stocks and soups. I made this dish last week where parsley played a major role in the symphony of flavors, it was a real hit.
Salmon and Asparagus Pasta
1.25 ounces of almonds ("just a handful") chopped and lightly toasted
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and minced
zest and juice on one lemon
2 tablespoons of chopped capers
big handful of parsley leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (I like the spicy Sicilian kind) and more for drizzling
12 ounces of asparagus, chopped into bite size pieces
6 ounces of Dreamfield's rotini pasta
5-6 ounces of wild salmon from a can or pouch (I'm not a fan of fresh salmon but this stuff is so sweet and mild, I really like it)
salt and pepper
Set the water to boil for the pasta (add some salt when the water comes to a boil.) To a bowl, add the almonds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, capers, parsley, salmon, olive oil and black pepper to taste. Mix to combine and set aside to let the flavors marry.
Cook the pasta according to the package, when two minutes remain on the timer add the asparagus to the pot. Cook for two minutes, then drain. Always reserves some of the pasta water. Put the pasta and asparagus back into the hot pot, add the salmon/parsley mixture and toss well. Add some pasta water and some more olive oil if it looks a bit dry. Garnish with more fresh parsley leaves. Devour!