Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Parsley - Asparagus with Parsley & Lemon Butter GF SCD

Once given as fodder for the chariot horses of the Ancient Greeks, parsley has been used for medicinal and food purposes for centuries, though English folklore has claimed that only the wicked can grow it well!

There are three distinct types of parsley:
  1. Curly Parsley (P.crispum) is the familiar. Plain leaf types such as Italian, French or flat-leaf parsley (P.crispum var. neopolitanum) are sometimes preferred in cooking since they are deemed to have a stronger flavour.
  2. Hamburg or Turnip Root Parsley (P.crispum var. tuberosum) is grown for its delicately flavoured taproot.
  3. Japanese parsley or mitsuba (Cryptotaenia japonica) used in Japanese cooking.
Medicinal Uses

"First he ate some lettuce and some broad beans, then some radishes and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for parsley"  from The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrice Potter

Even rabbits know a good thing when they see it! Parsley has been highly acclaimed for its medicinal properties. The leaf, seeds and root of the plant are all beneficial and it can help to:

  • prevent and treat kidney stones & UTIs
  • cleanse the liver
  • improve digestion
  • prevent and heal cancer
  • relieve earache
  • soothe insect bites and stings
  • cleanse the skin
  • treat hives and allergies since it works as a mild anti-histamine
  • alleviate the pain and inflammation of arthritis and gout 
But be aware if the following :
  • Pregnant women should be careful because consuming large quantities of parsley can have uterontonic effect
  • Parsley contains compounds that may cause photo-sensitivity in fair-skinned people exposed to sunlight after skin contact with the freshly harvested herb.
  • Parsley may cause allergy in sensitive persons.    

Nutritional Benefits

Parsley is absolutely bursting with nutrients!

  • Vitamin K - a huge amount!
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Folic Acid
  • Potassium
  • Iron

Cooking with Parsley 

Parsley can be added to many dishes including:

  • soups
  • hot-pots
  • salads
  • quinoa and rice dishes
  • stuffings
  • smoothies & juices
  • veggie burgers
  • curries
  • dips
  • garnishes 

Asparagus with Parsley and Lemon Butter GF SCD

125g butter or Vegan spread (not SCD)
1½ tblsp finely chopped parsley
½-1 tsp grated lemon zest
1½ tsp lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper
1 or more bunches asparagus (allow up to 10 spears per serving)
1 leek

This makes enough for up at least 10 bundles.

Slice the butter and place in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth or alternatively soften in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, sea salt and a little freshly ground black pepper and pulse until smooth. Leave out the lemon zest if you want just a hint of lemon.

Tear off a large piece of baking parchment and spoon the parsley butter in the middle. Pull the paper over the butter, then roll tightly into a sausage. Twist the ends to further tighten the roll.

Place in the fridge until needed. Cover with foil and it will keep up to a month in the freezer and up to 5 days in the fridge. Allow to soften slightly at room temperature before slicing into rounds.

Chop off the root base of the leek and discard any tough outer leaves. Cut off the green end then make a slice down the full length of the leek and separate the leaves. Give them a quick wash then cut the leaves into one inch wide strips.

Place in a deep frying pan. Cover with boiling water and simmer for about five minutes.

Drain and rinse under a cold tap. Lay out on some kitchen paper until needed. Make sure no-one is clearing up the kitchen because I lost two lots to the bin! They are almost invisible on the paper! Rinse the asparagus and snap off the tough ends of each spear.

Place in a large pan and cover with boiling water. Simmer for between five and six minutes until just tender and drain. Alternatively, steam the asparagus for the same length of time.

Divide out the spears into portions. Take two strips of leek and lay horizontally on a board.

Lay some asparagus on top then tie the leek strips. Lay on a serving dish and garnish with rounds of lemon and parsley butter.