It's hard to imagine cooking without parsley. A workhorse in the kitchen, parsley's bright herbaceous flavor lets it go places where other flavors can't. Equally at home in the background or at center stage, it is perhaps most useful at bridging disparate flavors.
In the garden, it's one of the last herbs to succumb to frost, and quick to resurrect in the spring. As a biennial, it's life cycle is limited to two growing seasons, but letting the seeds ripen and self-sow in the second year ensures successive crops.
In my everyday cooking, I can think of few dishes that wouldn't benefit from a bit of parsley and I'll admit that I use it less judiciously than black pepper, whose distinct flavor can easily overwhelm and is often overused as a seasoning. With that said, crushed black pepper and freshly minced parsley make a fine seasoning.
It's so versatile that it's rare that I find myself with leftover parsley. In those instances, I stockpile the stems in the freezer and toss leaves into salads. Or, when there's a considerable amount, I make parsley oil.
Making parsley oil is as simple as pureeing parsley leaves in a blender with oil and straining through a coffee filter. The more oil used, the faster it will strain and the higher the yield, but there will be less flavor.
In spring, the oil is fantastic drizzled on seasonal fare: smashed new potatoes and peas (with a sprinkle of nutmeg), asparagus veloute, roasted fiddleheads, fresh ricotta with honey, and it will make anything that comes off the grill sing. It's also a flavorful medium in which to poach, or confit, fish if you keep the temperature below 50C so the flavor doesn't turn woody. That's where this cuttlefish tentacle was heading, but looking at the parsley root that it was to be served with, it made more sense to place the flavor there. Raw parsley root tastes a lot like fresh parsley, but becomes sweet and earthy when cooked. Gently cooking it in parsley oil and letting it macerate overnight transforms the flavor and color to a bright, beautiful green.
Celebrating the flavors of spring: cuttlefish, parsley root, meyer lemon, and toasted almond gremolata.