I must have a secret "thing" for Georgia because out of all the Food Network stars my very two favorites are Paula Deen and Alton Brown. Sure, I get lots of tips and information and know-how from Emeril, Bobby, Giada, and Michael, but in my heart I know I could be friends with Paula and Alton. I love Paula for her down-home style, you know, that quality that makes you feel like you're in the kitchen with your favorite Auntie Miranda and I love Alton just because he's Alton. He's smart, sexy, funny, and so very talented. His show was one of the first ones I got hooked on when our cable company added on The Food Network. Every time I watch I am educated about food preparation and history, while being entertained. It's like he brings out the ADD child in your soul for a food party in the kitchen.
Using parsley as the green base for a salad was a new idea to me, but one that worked out delightfully in both taste and for the vitamin punch. In the celery family, the word "parsley" in Greek means "rock celery". Parsley is high in vitamins K, C, and A, and is a good source of iron, folate, and calcium. It is also a gentle diuretic and natural breath freshener.
Parsley is one of the world's most commonly used herbs and is my choice this week for Weekend Herb Blogging, created and hosted by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Run by Kalyn's blog after tomorrow night for a round up of all the herbs in use this week.
Auntie Miranda dropped off another bag of produce goodies (thank you, Auntie!) the other day and this time when I peeped into the bag I found a huge bunch of Italian flat-leafed parsley, several heads of bok choy, and chives. Real chives, not spring onions.
Hmmm...what to make...what to make...the three of us had lunch at my house yesterday before going to see Evan Almighty which is a really fun, feel-good, take-the-whole-family movie, by the way. When deciding the menu, Alton came through for me with a simple parsley salad dressed with a sesame oil vinaigrette that perfectly complimented the Sweet & Sour Meatballs over Fried Rice I'd already chosen to serve. (More recipes this coming week.)
The salad was wonderful! The dressing a perfect enhancement of the bite of the parsley that made it seem like tougher stuff than just a silly old herb we use all the time and toss aside on our plates in restaurants. The walnut oil gave it heft. The tomatoes that I added to Alton's salad gave it color and juiciness.
Alton Brown's Parsley Salad
from The Food Network web site
2 quarts Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
6 Tbsp walnut oil
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Wash and dry parsley. Snip of leaves only. Discard stems.
Whisk together rest of ingredients and toss with parsley about 30 minutes before you serve so the flavors will meld well.
I added a half carton of cherry tomatoes, cut in half. Also, I cut the recipe in half. A quart(ish) of the parsley was plenty for the three of us and Gene as a side salad.
And this is Aunti Miranda, Ann, and I sitting down to lunch...