Recently I discovered that I actually liked parsley.
I’d always considered it the dullest of herbs, essential only to things like soup stocks or used as a throwaway garnish during a time when your meat came with a side of baked or mashed potatoes and a medley or carrots.
But a wonderful meal recently in a Mediterranean-inflected seafood restaurant revealed to me the subtle splendor of parsley, its unique taste of lemon, grass, and pepper.
Quieter than many other herbs, yes; not as deeply aromatic or as forward-facing. But still . . . delicious.
Buoyed by my new love of this formerly disregarded herb, I set out to make a parsley oil, something that I could drizzle over delicately flavored things like a piece of fish, a chunk of crusty bread with a mild sheep’s milk cheese, a dollop of hummus or a simple pasta dish of lemon and ricotta. It would also be marvelous when incorporated judiciously into a winter soup, like a Moroccan seafood or an Italian veal stew.
Making herbal oils out of any of your favorite leafy herbs—like parsley, basil or cilantro—is a great way to make use of any extra you have. Plus, it ensures that even in the darkest dregs of winter, a bottle of summer is always within reach.
The preparation is so incredibly simple.
BLANCH the de-stemmed herbs (two bunches per cup of oil) by putting them into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, and then immediately shock them in a bowl of ice water for about the same amount of time.
SQUEEZE as much water from the leaves as possible and blend them in a food processor with about a cup of good olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
>> This leaves you with a lovely puree that you can put on top of fish or meat or add to cooked veggies.
To make the oil, use a cup of the puree.
WARM it up until it’s bubbling, but not quite boiling.
STRAIN it through a fine sieve.
COOL The resulting mixture in a glass container of your choice (maybe a Mason jar?).
SKIM the green oil from the top and get rid of the juice on the bottom.
>> The resulting oil is herbaceous, slightly vegetal and embodies the essence of your chosen herb.
It’s also a beautiful burst of green to showcase on your counter any time of the year.