Not just a garnish, parsley is a tasty green component in salads!
Compartmentalizing parsley as the garnish at the side of one's plate does a disservice to this healthy, tasty green.
Nutritionally, parsley packs a wallop! It is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, chlorophyll, potassium and sodium. It's also high in calcium, phosphorus, sulfur and B-complex vitamins. Parsley contains small amounts of silicon, selenium, and zinc.
Parsley pairs well with fresh peas, and root veggies such as carrots, beets, potatoes (think Parsley Potatoes), and sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes). It is further enhanced with a creamy, sweet or savory dressing.
This is a tasty Autumn and Winter salad celebrating ingredients that are harvested, available, and inexpensive at this time of year.
Recipe: Parsley, Sunchoke, and Carrot Salad With Creamy Tarragon-Caper Dressing (serves one or more)
Creamy Tarragon-Caper Dressing (enough for 3 or 4 salads)
Make this dressing first so the flavors blend and mellow, then assemble the salad.
2 TBS Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
2 TBS Mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp drained, minced capers
2 tsp tarragon vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper
Whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and mustard until smooth and well blended. Whisk in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir in the minced capers and set aside.
Parsley, Sunchoke, and Carrot Salad
For each serving...
1/3 cup washed, spun dry, and coarsely chopped curly parsley leaves (a few upper stems are fine in the mix chopped along with the leaves, but not the coarser lower stems).
1/4 cup cleaned, trimmed and chopped sunchokes
1/4 cup scrubbed and chopped carrot
Slivered, toasted almonds
Sprinkle of paprika (optional)
Place the chopped parsley, sunchokes, and carrot into a salad bowl. Spoon on, and stir in, enough dressing to lightly coat the vegetables and parsley - about 1- to 1-1/2 tablespoons per serving of salad.
Top salad with one or two teaspoons of slivered, toasted almonds. Add a sprinkle of paprika, if desired.
NOTE: Curly parsley is somewhat milder in flavor and more tender in texture than the flat-leaved variety.
Sunchokes are easy to grow. They bloom in September and their tubers are collected after the first frost which sweetens and enhances their flavor. They are tall - five to eight feet, or so, and are nice at the back of the garden border. Their foliage dies at the first hard frost, but new stems and leaves return from unharvested tubers each spring.
In my experience the red-skinned variety are better keepers under refrigeration. The tawny-skinned types tend to oxidize quicker to an unsavory black. Keeping some soil on them until ready to clean and use slows oxidation.
Sunchokes are a perennial member of the sunflower family. The roots form tasty tubers that look a bit like red or tawny-colored potatoes. Their texture is crisp with a mild flavor. Their flavor and texture reminds me of jicama and can be used in a similar way. Sunchokes can fill in for water chestnuts if added to a stir fry near the end of cooking time so they stay crisp.
Red-skinned and tawny-skinned sunchokes. The skins are thin and the flesh is white.
When baked or roasted they are creamy and taste similar to artichoke hearts. Sunchokes are low in carbohydrate and can be mashed and served like potatoes for those on low-carb diets.
Sunchoke flowers. Pretty!