Friday, September 24, 2010

Making Parsley Oil

Parsley is a biennial herb.  The second year it really just focuses its energy on making seed, so the quality of the leaves are greatly diminished.  For that reason I generally treat it as an annual and at the end of the season, I cut the plant off at the ground, or yank it out by the roots. 

Drying parsley is often not the easiest thing to do (it is one of those herbs that turns brown if drying conditions are not perfect.)  As a result I try to preserve it different ways.  One of the best for preserving that bright, green flavor of both curly and flat parsley is to make parsley oil.

Making Parsley Oil

2 cups (500 ml) parsley leaves
½ cup (140 ml) vegetable oil

1.                  Bring a pot of water to boil and season with salt.
2.                  Blanch the parsley. (Allow parsley to remain in boiling water for only 2 minutes, then remove.)
3.                  Place the blanched parsley on a tea towel.  Ball up the edges of the tea towel and twist them into a knot to squeeze all the water from the herbs.
4.                  Place the squeezed parsley into the blender and add half the oil.  Puree for a few seconds and then add the other half of the oil.  Pulse the blender rather than letting it run continuously as the heat generated will darken the oil.  Continue to purée until the oil becomes bright green.
5.                  When green, empty the oil into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
6.                  The following day, place cheesecloth in a strainer placed over a bowl and pour the oil into the cheesecloth.  Allow it to drip until the oil is strained.  Do not force the oil through the cheesecloth or this will make the final oil cloudy.
7.                  Bottle the oil for use.  Keep it in the refrigerator.  It will only hold for a few days, but can be frozen for slightly longer storage.
8.                  Now you can have some fun. 
a.       Use the oil to decorate serving plates with a few drizzles; you can be like Martha Stewart!
b.   You can make an excellent dish with tomatoes, see this recipe.
c.       It can now be used in any dish where you would use plain oil.
d.       It is good tossed with spaghetti or shaped pasta and blanched vegetables.
e.      Make a vinaigrette salad dressing with 2/3 cup oil and 1/3 cup vinegar. You can really play with the flavor by mixing it with herbal vinegar, like basil or lemon. 

The Backyard Patch does not make oils for commercial sale, however we do have herb blends that mix with your own canola, olive or vegetable oil.  Check them out at on our Webpage 

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