Often an ornamental afterthought, lovely parsley does more than decorate a plate. If you usually leave those few sprigs on your dish after finishing a meal, then you're wasting this refreshing herb. Tsk, tsk!
Both the curled leaf (common) parsley, as well as the flat-leaf Italian variety, have a mildly peppery flavor profile that complements most herbs effortlessly. It's the palate's peacemaker, enhancing the combined taste of seasonings without jockeying for the top spot. Simply put, it plays nicely with the other culinary kiddies in the spice rack.
For times when you do want a parsley variety that doesn't mind grabbing the limelight, you may want to try Chinese parsley -- frequently known as "cilantro" -- but common parsley is more of a crowd-pleaser that you can safely chop (generally just a tablespoon of the fresh leaves) & add at the end of cooking. That's it, no worries with this herb.
And, yes, as you already know, parsley makes the quintessential garnish. However, what you may not have realized is that it's a natural breath freshener, too! (A good tip to keep in mind after a garlicky meal.) Parsley is the green gift that keeps on giving; no wonder we adore this pretty plant.
For an eye-catching dish, here's a Veracruz-inspired recipe from our Recipe Corner: Fish with Black Bean Sauce.