Many cooks seem to use parsley as an accompanying flavour, perhaps scattered over a finished dish. It is a shame really, as parsley has a deliciously forthright herbaceous flavour with many subtle nuances. This essence captures those flavours and intensifies them. If you think you know the flavour of parsley, make this and think again.
I came up with this essence a few years back when I was cooking at a fairly reliable little inner-city bistro. It was diluted with chicken stock to form the sauce for a wild mushroom ravioli. I have since discovered that parsley essence has a multitude of uses in the kitchen. This New Years Eve past we made amuse gueule of tiny goats cheese soufflés. Once removed from the oven they were injected underside, via a squeeze bottle with this essence. What a treat; once cut open, the tiny soufflés exuded a vibrant green parsley sauce that lifted the dish towards nirvana.
Part of its appeal is the shocking green colour of this sauce. This is achieved by quickly blanching the parsley, then immediately cooling it down in iced water, thus setting the colour.
Apart from the aforementioned uses, parsley essence can be used with a whole host of dishes. Try tossing freshly cooked fettucine in parsley essence, then topping with shaved Parmesan, or simply dress grilled fish or chicken with this parsley delight for a quick and tasty gourmet treat.
For the best results, used flat leaf or Italian parsley Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum, but don't fret if you can only get curly parsley P. crispum, which will provide all the colour, just a little less flavour.
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken stock (or vegetable stock, even water at a pinch)
1/2 Tbs fish sauce (or sea salt)
Pick the leaves from the bunch of parsley and wash well. Bring a small pot of water to the boil and plunge in the parsley leaves. Immediately drain and plunge the parsley into iced water. This will preserve the vibrant green colour.
Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the parsley and place in a blender (not a food processor, but a cocktail style blender). Add all the remaining ingredients and puree well.