This quick French garnish is very similar to the Italian gremolata. It adds pungency at the very end of cooking a dish and is often added and mixed with the pan juices. It can be heated briefly in olive oil or butter, or simply used as a garnish. Often, a steamed or sautéed vegetable is tossed with the persillade (păhr-sēē-yăhd) and allowed to stand, covered, for a few minutes to permeate the dish. Use it with grilled or steamed vegetables, especially beets, cauliflower and potatoes. I like it in egg dishes like a frittata or omelet, added toward the end of cooking. The mixture is good on raw tomatoes or a plate of cucumbers, drizzled with a little olive oil. It brightens a pizza or bowl of pasta and is perfect for grilled or pan-fried fish or fowl.
Although it is most often made with garlic and parsley, I like it best with shallots in place of the garlic; it is a bit milder yet still piquant. It makes a perfect compound butter. The French sometimes add other herbs like chervil, savory, thyme or tarragon to their persillade. PERSILLADE RECIPE MAKES 1/2 CUP
• Scant 1/2 cup fresh minced parsley
• 2 cloves minced garlic or 1 large shallot, minced—about 1 to 2 tablespoons
Susan Belsinger, a longtime contributor to The Herb Companion, co-wrote The Creative Herbal Home (Creative Printing, 2007).
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