I owe parsley a big apology.  All these years I relegated it to a mere garnish or, at best, an important cameo player at Passover.  Then again, what did parsley expect?  I mean, it’s always there, at every store, doesn’t seem to have a “season,” and it’s cheap.  Did it think that was going to make us cherish it?

No, it took Cook’s Illustrated to make me see what you could be, humble parsley.  You can hold your own as a featured ingredient and the recipe that convinced me was the Parsley-Cucumber Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Walnuts from the September, 2017 issue (and look at you with top billing!).

I’m always excited about a new salad and this one has amazing texture, thanks to nuts and pomegranate seeds and cucumbers, and it’s also got great flavor from the feta, the pomegranate molasses in the dressing and, yes, the parsley.  It plays so nicely with the cucumbers and nuts and cheese and another bonus is that it keeps better than salad made with lettuce as our reliable friend parsley doesn’t wilt so easily.  And would you look at the colors?  It’s just a mouth carnival, that’s all.

 

Parsley-Cucumber Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Walnuts (from Cook's Illustrated, Sept. 2017)

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 seedless English cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, sliced thin

Instructions

  1. Whisk together (or combine in a small jar and shake) the molasses, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, cayenne and olive oil until combined. Add half of walnuts and half of pomegranate seeds and toss to combine. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing, plate, and sprinkle remaining walnuts and seeds and add feta slices. Serve.