Parsley is trouble for a gardener in springtime. You must plant brand-new seed if you want it to germinate, and even then, there’s a long wait. According to one old saying, parsley goes to the devil and back nine times before it sprouts. But wherever it’s been, it is certainly welcome when it finally appears.
My parsley bed is the best thing left in the garden. All summer long it flourished, rain or shine, even in sweltering weather. Now, in the seemingly endless medium-cold days of a mild late fall, it’s like a deep green forest, a champion crop.
The parsley in my garden is the flat-leaf kind, which I prefer, especially if I am using it raw, because its texture is less scratchy than that of the curly variety. But curly parsley is more cold-hardy for winter use.
Basil, the joy of the summer garden, germinated effortlessly and was bountiful — before it bolted to seed and was then felled by the lightest touch of frost. So now I have parsley, enough of it to feed the county. How to use a parsley windfall is only difficult if you think of it as a garnish, a sprig tucked in next to the steak or sprinkled in green flecks over the edges of a white platter. I needed a role for fistfuls of parsley, baskets of parsley. So I tried to think of ways in which it could take over from where basil so unceremoniously left off.