Much more than a sprig of garnish

Much more than a sprig of garnish

The Simon and Garfunkel song Scarborough Fair gets its herb hierarchy spot on, by placing parsley—one of the world’s most popular herbs— ahead of sage, rosemary and thyme.

Parsley is popular in West Asia, Europe and North America—its tang is used to add a robust taste to foods such as meat stew—and is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads such as tabbouleh. Fresh chopped parsley is sprinkled on top of many dishes such as boiled or mashed potatoes (and variants like parsley potatoes), risottos, fried chicken as also stews like beef bourguignon or goulash. In southern and central Europe, parsley is a part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavour stocks, soups, and sauces. The French use it in persillade, a mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley. The Italians use it to whip up the gremolata, a traditional accompaniment to meat stews.

Vitamin rich

The herb is rich in vitamins C and A. Vitamin C protects against colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma, plus it is an anti-inflammatory agent. It also helps combat colds and flu. Vitamin A is important for the immune system and healthy eyesight.

Anti- cancer

Parsley contains myristicin (an organic compound also found in nutmeg), which has been shown to fight tumour growth. This makes parsley an effective combatant to cancer.

Folic acid

Parsley is a good source of folic acid, which is important for cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke in people. Folic acid is also important for proper cell division and critical to preventing cancer.

Eat it this way

Gremolata

Ingredients

(Serves two)

Rich in flavour: The gremolata is a perfect garnish for rich meats.

• 2 cloves garlic, crushed

• 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped

• 1 tsp olive oil

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method:

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, cover with a plastic film and refrigerate for an hour. Serve with meat stew.

—Chef Vishal Atreya, executive sous chef, The Imperial New Delhi.

shreya.r@livemint.com

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