When I was growing up, parsley was a tough, curly thing that sat on your plate. It was to make your plate look pretty, not to eat (though sometimes I would occasionally hear that chewing it would freshen your breath). I had never even heard of Italian flat-leaf parsley. My how times have changed. Now, I buy a bunch of fresh parsley every week. Parsley can be pretty much tossed into anything towards the end of cooking to add a fresh flavor, and it is still useful to make your plate look pretty. A little fresh parsley sprinkled on a dish before serving makes me feel like a chef (though mine somehow never looks as pretty as those on TV, it must be an acquired skill).
I buy organic parsley, which is a tad bit expensive (a least compared to non-organic), so I really hate to let any of it go to waste. So, there I was, with a bag of parsley in my fridge, needing to be used up, and a new cookbook. Yeah. I bought a new cookbook. I couldn’t help it. It was at Book Gallery and it was only $8.99 because it had a torn page. And it has stickers on the front…it won James Beard Foundation Kitchenaid Book Award and an IACP award! I am especially smitten with cookbooks with award stickers on the front. Anyway, it’s Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, The by Peter Berley. Now, I am not a vegetarian, modern or otherwise, but I cannot pass up a good deal or a good cookbook. I am really happy with this book and have marked several recipes to try. One that caught my eye was the parsley pesto. I followed the recipe and froze portions of it in an ice cube tray. After they were frozen, I stored them in a plastic bag in my freezer. This is so good, and I have such plans for it: spooning over grilled or roasted fish or chicken, stirred into pasta or grains, spread onto pizza dough…really the options are limitless!
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
4 cups packed, fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
Using your metal blade of your food processor, gring the walnuts to a fine meal.
Add the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Slowly pour int oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Mix in about 1 teaspoon of salt and taste, adjust if necessary.
You can freeze it like I did, or store it in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks after covering it with olive oil and sealing it tightly.