Thursday, January 19, 2012

Two Recipes: What to Do with Too Much Parsley!

A two-pound turkey and a fifty-pound cranberry—that's Thanksgiving dinner at Three Mile Island. – Johnny Carson

Miraculous stuff, this. Parsley sauce has a thousand uses!
Remember that cheap turkey I bought a few weeks ago? It was pretty big and we’re still eating it… Speaking of buying in "volume," I recently bought the largest bunch of parsley I have ever seen. Absolutely enormous.

I had to buy a little fresh parsley for another dish I made. Usually you’re lucky to get a couple cups of chopped parsley from bunches they sell at the local groceries. Well there must have been some kind of glut because the bunches they were selling at one particular grocery easily could yield 8 cups chopped.

Now what on earth do you do with 8 cups of parsley? Honestly. It’s a real question of economics and wasting money. Sadly, parsley tends to wilt unless used almost immediately so you’ve thrown your money away. It can become a wilted mess even if kept in the refrigerator overnight.

Overnight marinade of turkey breast strips and then
pan fried made a great topping for pasta.
So I went looking for solutions. What did I find? Lots of people recommended freezing or drying it. Any fool could figure that out. I wanted something “interesting.”

After much searching (quite a lot actually) I found a mention on a forum of being able to make a pasta sauce from your plethora of parsley. 

It gave a basic outline but nothing concrete. I’m here to rectify that with actual amounts. Of course I altered what I found substantially.

Since I had the turkey hanging around I thought the parsley sauce would make a decent marinade as well, and I could have a complete meal – and use up the darned parsley.

This sauce does not taste overly like parsley. If anything it most closely resembles a pesto without nuts. In the same way that traditional pesto doesn't taste like a basil leaf, this does not taste like a sprig of parsley. Somehow it's different (read, better).

The parsley sauce was a great hit. I’ll be on the lookout for large bunches of parsley in the future. This could be used directly on grilled meat, or tossed into pretty much anything where lots of parsley and garlic wold be beneficial.

Funnily, I still have enough parsley sauce for at least another meal. Thank goodness it will last for a while in the refrigerator. It’s best to space out your “leftovers” over at least a couple days!

The strips were re-heated in some parsley sauce and cream
with fried onions
Parsley Sauce
Makes about 300 ml
8-10 cloves garlic
4 sun-dried tomato halves
3-4 cups parsley
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
enough oil to make a paste

Place the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and purée. Scrape down the side periodically. Once all is well ground slowly add olive oil with the motor running. Add enough oil in a slow stream to make a paste.

Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Turkey Strips with Parsley Cream
Prep: overnight  | Cook: 20 min  |  Serves 2
1/2 boneless skinless turkey breast, cut in strips
1/3 cup + 1/2 cup parsley sauce (recipe follows)
1 medium onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese
whole grain penne for 2

This was a wonderful way to use too much parsley!
Cut the turkey breast and place it, with the first 1/3 cup of parsley sauce, in a bag. Rub the sauce well over the strips. Refrigerate the turkey and sauce overnight in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, heat the oil in a wide saucepan or frying pan. Remove the turkey from the “marinade” and fry in the oil until almost cooked through. Remove to a plate.

Halve the onion and then chop it onto 1/4” wide strips. Sauté in the oil in the pan over medium high heat until they begin to slightly brown. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the onions.

Add the cream and let reduce slightly. The stir in the 1/2 cup of parsley sauce. Mix well and taste for salt and pepper. Adjust if necessary. Then nestle in the turkey strips. Reduce the heat to simmer and let the turkey finish cooking in the sauce.

Serve over hot pasta, with parmesan cheese grated on top.


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