What is it? Parsley.

This green, green herb has a long and important culinary history.  Often relegated to the role of garnish, parsley deserves some attention as a culinary mainstay.  It’s fresh, nutritious, and mildly savory.  Parsley (petroselinum hortense) is the best known member of its botanical family — the parsley family.  Other parsley family herbs include cilantro, caraway, carrot, dill, fennel, and celery.

Parsley is also grown as a root vegetable.  While all parsley types are biennial root-producers, Hamburg Root Parsley is a type of parsley that produces an especially fat root that looks like a chubby white carrot.  Parsley root is a great stew and soup vegetable with a mild parsley flavor.  Try it in chicken soup.

Use flat leaved, or Italian parsley for cooking.  The flavor is superior to that of curly parsley – which is still a beautiful and edible herb.

If you have a little garden space, consider growing parsley.  It is an easy to grow herb, but the seeds can take a while to germinate.  Easier still, buy parsley seedlings at your local nursery, set them out in your garden, give them a little water, and you’ll be enjoying this timeless herb all summer.

One simple recipe that stars parsley is Tabouleh.  This classic salad is very common in the middle east.  Made with summer ripe garden tomatoes, Tabouleh is delicious, refreshing, and super good for you.  There are hundreds of versions of this popular salad out there.  This is how I like mine.

Tabouleh

1 cup wheat bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 bunch flat leaved parsley, stems removed, chopped fine
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
fresh squeezed juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup good olive oil
sea salt

Place wheat bulgur in a heatproof bowl.  Pour the boiling water onto the bulgur.  Cover with tight fitting lid or plastic wrap.  Set aside for 20 – 30 minutes.

Fluff the prepared bulgur with a fork.  Add the remainder of the ingredients, mixing just to combine.  Add salt to taste.  Refrigerate, covered.  Serve at room temp, or cold.

note: Tabouleh recipes often include chopped onion or scallion.

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